How to Engage Millennials for Long-term Sustainability

How to Engage Millennials for Long-term Sustainability

Meet Luke Brandwalker, one of the profiles you might see when you take the Rottman Creative Engagement Assessment. If you’re a Luke, the forces of connection and engagement are strong in your organization. You event is well attended and members really dig in to achieve breakthroughs in your industry. Chances are good, however, that you see a lot of gray hair when you look around the room. How can you foster engagement and sustain your organization into the future? You need the Millennium Falcon…er…Millennials. You need Millennials. And we know how to find them, engage them, and sustain your organization for decades. Hop in! We’re off to a galaxy not so far, far away.

Kids These Days…

We know, we know. Everybody is talking about Millennials. It’s almost like we’re observing a new species or dissecting aliens from another planet. The perception is often that “young people these days” aren’t as dedicated, driven, respectful, or productive as past generations. Or “back when I was young” things were different. Millennials just can’t seem to put down their phones long enough for a “real” conversation. They’re lazy and entitled. They can’t keep a job…The list goes on.

You might not be thrilled at the prospect of engaging with these lazy, entitled hooligans. But writing off the next generation will cost you big. If you don’t learn how to communicate with Millennials and, more importantly, ENGAGE them, your organization can’t survive. A closer look at just who Millennials are—and the significant value they can bring to your organization—is the key to your future sustainability as an organization. Ignore them at your peril.

Why Millennials might just be your ideal members

Pew Research defines Millennials as anyone currently 18 to 34 years old. At 86 million strong, they’re the largest generation in the U.S. and the largest share of the American workforce. They have some powerful common traits you can definitely put to use in your organization.

They’re driven by passion, not profits. We know that for your event to be successful, you need people to feel compelled, inspired, and engaged—not forced or motivated and not driven by “stuff” they can acquire. About 60 percent of Millennials are entrepreneurs, and many identify as social entrepreneurs. That means they work to positively influence the world even if it means making less money as a result. They’re really not “entitled,” many faced a tough job market right out of college and were forced to make their own way in the world. Imagine if you can harness this drive for your organization.

They care about community.

Sure, Millennials tend to have a better work-life balance than their parents, but that’s because they value community, family, and time for recreation and creativity. They’ve come of age in a time where busting butt at the office isn’t rewarded with overtime pay, a pension, or even job security. They’re happy to put in their 9 to 5 day, but then they’re off to an after-work activity or event (maybe yours).

They’re drawn to companies that give back.

About a third of Millennials say they will boycott a company based on their convictions. That means if you can’t prove your value and resonate with their worldview, you’re out. However, Millennials prefer to associate with companies and organizations that have a culture of giving back. (Not a bad fit for your life-changing mission, right?) They value authenticity, so an annual day of volunteering isn’t going to cut it. They want to see real change over the long term. If you can effectively communicate your purpose and value to this crowd, they will get engaged and stay there.

They love technology.

I can hear you saying that this is not a positive attribute. But just think for a minute…Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation to date. More than 85 percent own a smart phone, and they rarely put it down. They even sleep near their phones! They’re also socially connected, with an average of 250 Facebook friends each. All this adds up to countless opportunities for you to engage them 24/7—via email, apps, mobile advertising, YouTube, or social media. And when you do reach them with relevant content, they can share it with hundreds or thousands of people faster than the speed of light.

The problem with Millennials

As you might now see, “the problem with Millennials” is largely one of misunderstanding. Don’t mistake differences in values and communication preferences for negative character traits. The truth is you need Millennials, and the sooner you understand them—and how to engage them—the sooner you’ll see attendance numbers, engagement, and goal achievement increase at your event, throughout the year, and into the next decade.

Take the Engagement Assessment

Ready to defeat the dark side and solve your gray hair dilemma for decades to come? Find out where you rate on the Engagement Scale. Once you know where you are in terms of engaging members, we can help you craft a plan to increase event attendance and member engagement AND achieve long-term sustainability for your organization.

Click here to take the assessment now.

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