Middle Ground for Millennials

As we say goodbye to 2012, it should be noted that the past year wasn’t a cake walk for millennials. Shortly before the presidential election, 40% of the millennial generation identified unemployment and rising prices as the main issues affecting them. Burdened by an average of $28,500 in student loan debt, young people across the country are worried about more than just crashing with mom and dad. Overall job prospects remained weak over the past year, and almost half of millennials delayed major life transitions, such as buying a home or moving out on their own while they saved money, pursued career-track employment, and gained a much-dresired stability.

So how do nonprofits reach this blighted generation?

According to the New York Times, the answer is as simple as customizing the cause. In a profile by Victor Luckerson, Charity:Water is used as a primary example of how to gain support from young people by asking for more than just support. Implementation of a unique third party fundraising strategy revolving around micro-donations help millennials feel a stronger identification with the organization and mission.

“Many charities go out and just ask people for money, We ask people for their voice,” said Scott Harrison, founder of the nonprofit.

By making millennials responsible for third party fundraisers and increased participation, they more closely resemble ambassadors, marketing and conducting organizational outreach – an impact which extends far beyond their wallet.

As millennials also look for career employment, nonprofits are finding ways to be the stopgap. Paid fellowships and internships, part time positions, and participation in programs like Americorps VISTA all allow for career-track opportunity, at a fraction of the price for the nonprofit, and can quickly elevate resumes and networking for the young person.

Hopes are strong that 2013 will be an improvement for millennial employment, but until then, innovative nonprofits are attracting a generation otherwise stuck in middle ground between university graduation and career employment.



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