3 Ways to Engage the Millennial Age
Millennials are often viewed as uncharted territory within the association sphere. Brand new to the membership base, this generation can leave a lot of staff scratching their heads on how to handle them. From selfies to participation trophies, this crew appears to operate in an entirely different reality than their baby booming predecessors.
It’s a whole new world for those outside generation “Me.” Understanding their virtual friendships and short attention spans can sound like a daunting task and of itself. While procrastinating on the involvement strategy might seem like the easiest route, unfortunately, it could be detrimental to the future of your organization. Talking numbers alone: This generation currently makes up half of the world’s workforce, and that number keeps growing.
The time to engage this millennial age is now – but how? After erasing “early retirement” off the to-do list, try following it up with a few of these suggestions that could really get this crew tweeting in your favor.
Become an organization of “yes.”
This generation is not that familiar with the word “no.” The majority grew up with doting parents who constantly affirmed their “specialness” and played only in leagues of winners. The moment they are told they can’t do something, they turn a blind eye and are quite possibly lost forever. They are hardworking and fully equipped with the tools to get things done, and they know it. Saying no, or rejection in their eyes, could send them running for the hills. If an opportunity arises, and they aren’t necessarily the best fit, offer an alternative rather than dismissing the idea altogether.
Place them on an (invisible) pedestal.
Ask not what they can do for your organization, but rather what you can do for them. Not exactly worshipping the ground they walk on, but at least, continually express the importance of their involvement, no matter how big or small the task may be. Words of affirmation are their love language; make sure to speak to that. Try introducing the newest members at the annual meeting, host an exclusive new member reception or even try highlighting them on the website. This is not to say they are any more important than your other members, but rather, alert them to their direct impact on the organization. Praise them enough, and they could be the biggest advocates of the cause to date.
Morph into a social butterfly.
News moves fast in their sphere, thus it is essential the association is part of the action. Social media drives their information base; direct mail and phone banks can be deemed useless. If millennials aren’t following the organization via the big three (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), it is safe to assume the message was never delivered. Maintain a strong social media presence and ensure the information is disseminated amongst all channels. By infiltrating their “airwaves” it will prove the commitment the association has to their continued involvement.
Ultimately, underneath the Instagram filters and pithy tweets, these guys want the same things all members do; it’s just a matter of making a few adjustments. Embrace the base with open arms, and the association will be reaping the rewards for generations to come.