Millennials: Thinking About Getting Into Nonprofit?
I'm going to go a little off topic this month. As you probably realize, the articles I write typically involve making sure you succeed with your nonprofit marketing. However, today I want to shift gears a bit and talk about social good.
I'm a Millennial, and I have worked in the for-profit sector for years. I still do, but I now work for the largest shoe drive fundraising social enterprise in the U.S., making a global impact. My generation and the one behind us, Generation Z, care very much about civic activism and the collective good. So during a time of considerable uncertainty, I want to provide my peers and others passionate about social good ideas for how they could get involved.
Unlike earlier generations, while we all want the respect and freedom from a well-paying job, we're not a group of people, I think, who care as much about material goods. For us, epic life experiences are much more important than owning the latest model car or buying a big house with a lot of space we probably don't need. We are also a group of people who are keenly aware that stuff doesn't make us happy.
Instead, what makes for a life well lived is one that is filled with purpose and passion. And although we share our interests in different ways than earlier generations (e.g. social media), as I mentioned, we care very much about the collective good. Therefore, as we obtain more earning power, we want to give to nonprofits and charity. However, we will only support organizations that demonstrate impact. In other words, we won’t give just to give if we don’t see results.
Different Ways for Millennials and Gen Z to Get Involved in Social Good
During this time of upheaval, I've seen discussions on social media about how we could lead the change to better our nation. Today, I have a few ideas for people of my generation that go beyond amplifying good causes with our knowledge of social media and all things digital.
Volunteer at a Nonprofit
Millennials and Generation Z are still in the early years of their earning power. Some of us may not have all the funds we'd like to donate to nonprofits that demonstrate impact. However, working in the social enterprise where I work and speaking to many outstanding nonprofit leaders, I've learned that they need help.
Help could come in several ways for nonprofits and social good organizations. Sure, it could come in the form of a donation. But it could also come by way of volunteering. For instance, nonprofits need people who have a mastery of digital. It’s not hard to volunteer. You could check out volunteer groups or decide to approach organizations in your community. Just be sure to have any idea of what you want to offer (e.g. marketing expertise, mentorship of kids, etc.).
Start a Social Enterprise or Nonprofit
It takes all kinds of people to make things happen. Some of us enjoy entrepreneurship, and others prefer to work for someone else. If you happen to be one who likes to strike out on your own, consider creating a nonprofit or a social enterprise.
As you may know, a nonprofit organization is a business with a not-for-profit tax designation. In contrast, a social enterprise is also a business, but you could profit from it. However, in combination with profit, you also operate to create a social impact in your community or the world.
Consider Becoming a Nonprofit Board Member
I know. Becoming a board member at a nonprofit may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it makes a lot of sense. Nonprofits understand that digital transformation is happening, and they also know that the old ways don't cut it. Therefore, many are seeking young Millennials and even Generation Z individuals to help them attract a younger group of people to their work.
Becoming a nonprofit board member, where your opinions and ideas are equally considered, could be a plus for you and them. As a board member, you can get involved in a great cause for which you have passion. You also have the opportunity to meet people who might help you and boost your career down the line. If this is of interest to you, put it out there to people and ask. Also, search online for volunteer opportunities, such as Idealist, Facebook groups, LinkedIn nonprofit groups or All for Good.
In sum, while it's true that our country has a lot going on, Americans remain the most philanthropic people in the world. It's core to our values as a nation. I hope I see many more young people find meaning by getting aligned with a cause for social good.
Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional with a background in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising, content creation and brand strategy. As the VP of marketing at Funds2Orgs, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands as well as manages national and local social media accounts for clients and entrepreneurs.
Kristy enjoys new books, traveling, Fleetwood Mac and picnics with her pup. Most of all, Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.