by Sara Littlejohn, former Development Officer at Hope House
Millennials, those ages 18-35, are often praised for being well-educated, technologically savvy and active community members. They are often criticized for being entitled and unwilling to settle down at a job for longer than an average of 13 months.
The fact is that by 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce; by 2030, they will make up 75% of the global workforce. So, the question is not IF we begin engaging the millennial generation but WHEN and HOW do we do engage them effectively?
What we have learned at Hope House is that millennials want to engage with organizations in three ways:
- Through their time. Millennials want to volunteer and are attracted to companies that incorporate volunteering into their employee culture.
- Through their talents. Millennials want to engage beyond the surface… in ways that allow them to utilize their education, passion and gifts.
- Through their treasure. The average one-time gift from a millennial is $238. They prefer to give online, through monthly giving programs, crowdfunding, corporate matches and through hosting beneficiary events for the causes they embrace.
We have also learned that millennials check the “About Us” section on organizational websites, looking for clearly defined goals, values and impact (either locally or globally). Once they find an organization that aligns with their core values, they tend to jump “all in.” Their involvement with causes they support becomes part of who they are… and they often share their experiences with their families, friends and co-workers.
At Hope House, we established a young professionals network called Hope House Young Professionals (HHYP) in 2014 to partner with the growing millennial population. The group is made of career-minded individuals who want to spread the word about Hope House in fun, innovative ways and help empower teen moms on their journey toward self-sufficiency.
This group engages with Hope House in a variety of ways, including:
Social Events – to establish community (we have an upcoming Christmas formal).
Happy Hours – to provide networking opportunities (often at a local brewery).
Volunteer projects for Hope House – to offer a tangible way to give back (recently this group worked on the landscape at our Residential house).
Fundraising – to provide a way to financially invest (primarily through monthly giving, crowdfunding and beneficiary events).
This year alone, HHYP will:
1. Engage over 100 millennials, including Hope House graduates.
2. Enjoy a 50% retention rate from prior year.
3. Raise $10,000 for Hope House of Colorado’s self-sufficiency programs.
While we are continuing to grow and evolve, our focus will remain the same: partnering with the millennial generation to serve as many teen moms as possible in our community as they work to break the cycle of poverty for generations to come!
Meet Hope House Graduate Jamie Goad!
Jamie is a Hope House grad, mom to her two young children Darrien and Arayah, and owns her own business. Somehow she also finds time to remain involved with Hope House in her spare time!
Jamie recently served as the guest speaker at a HHYP event called Back-to-School Summer Bash, which featured happy hour and a school supply drive. Jamie took the stage and shared her story of becoming a teen mom and the obstacles she faced – and how Hope House empowered her.
We have found that when our own teen moms advocate for Hope House, our millennial supporters are able to see how their involvement is making a real difference in their very own community – a powerful tool for engaging our millennials!
For more information and data on engaging the millennial generation:
Abilia Fundraising Solutions – “Demystifying Millennial Donors” Report:
21/64 – Philanthropy Consulting:
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy: