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Young Professional Networks

Although the economy has shown continued growth since the Great Recession of 2008, Millennials continue to struggle with securing full-time employment. According to statistics from August, the unemployment rate for 18-29 year-olds has averaged nearly 12 percent. Those numbers are bleaker when discussing college-educated Millennials; 53% of college-educated Millennials are either jobless or underemployed, and only 30% feel that their job correlates to their long term goals.

So, what does this mean for your organization, and how can your organization connect with these young, educated adults?

Young Professional Networks! Simply put, a young professional network or group is an outlet that provides networking, professional development, and volunteer opportunities for motivated young professionals.

It’s a no brainer that your organization should consider starting a young professional network.

The 2012 Millennial Impact Report surveyed thousands of Millennials about their interest in young professional networks and found that the top three reasons Millennials join professional networks are: interest in the mission and cause; social and professional networking; and, professional development.

Benefits for your organization:

  • Access to educated, skilled volunteers looking to expand their network and expertise.
  • Access to young professionals and their network. Although they may lack capacity to give to your organization, Millennials are great “movers and shakers.”  They likely know, or know someone, who can connect to those donors you have been trying to meet.
  • Fresh blood! Young professionals from outside of your organization bring in new ideas and talents to tackle the problems in your community.

Benefits for young professionals:

  • Access to your organization and network.  This is extremely helpful to young professionals looking for employment or professional references.
  • Resume builder. Completing a significant project for your organization is a great way for young professionals to demonstrate they have the skills to succeed.
  • Opportunity to use and develop skills related to their desired career goal. With a great number of Millennials underemployed, young professional networks allow Millennials the opportunity to continue using the knowledge they gained during college.

Tips for developing your young professional network:

  • Millennials are more than social media users. Develop projects or assignments that add value and produce tangible outcomes for the organization.
  • Small organization? Consider collaborating with similar organizations to develop a young professional network that will work on a project beneficial to all parties.
  • Be sure that your organization has the capacity to manage a young professional network. Think about extra costs, staff responsibility, meeting locations, etc.

Does your organization already have a young professional network? Have you tried to start a young professional network in the past?

Comment below and let me know about your experiences.

Nonprofit Issue: #Hashtags

One of the many common attributes often mentioned when discussing the Millennial generation is their connection to technology and social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites have made it easy for Millennials to quickly learn about nonprofits and the work that these organizations do in their communities. These tools also create an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and businesses to easily connect with Millennials. However, the 2013 Millennial Impact Report says that Millennials only follow one to five nonprofit organizations.

 Did you know that there are an estimated 1.5 million nonprofit organizations?

 With this much competition, it is imperative that your organization be able to stand out and motivate the Millennial to learn more about your organization.

One simple way to do this: #hashtags

Yes, even your nonprofit can benefit from the hashtag craze sweeping social media. Just remember not to talk in hashtag in real life like Justin Timerlake and Jimmy Fallon.

First, what is a hashtag? According to Facebook, “hashtags turn topics and phrases into links in posts on your personal timeline or your page. This helps people find posts about topics they are interested in.” Hashtags make a great way to track and follow conversation surrounding your nonprofit or issues. They have become so popular that Twitter even provides a guide on integrating hashtags into your tweets. Check it out here: https://dev.twitter.com/media/hashtags

RadiumOne, an advertising company, recently released results from a survey where they asked 494 participants (of all ages) about their usage and opinions of hashtags. Some of the highlights:

  • 58% use hashtags
  • 43% find hashtags useful
  • 42% click and explore new content
  • 30% use hashtags to identify new trends (your issues)
  • 21% use hashtags to find brands/products (your nonprofit)

 

MILLENNIALS PREFER TO CONNECT VIA TECHNOLOGY

They use websites and search engines primarily for information-gathering, finding volunteer opportunities, and donating online. They rely on social media and email for communicating and connecting with their networks, while mobile technology gives them instant access to all these channels.

MILLENNIALS SHARE IN MICRO WAYS

Their interactions with nonprofit organizations are likely to be immediate and impulsive. When inspired, they will act quickly in a number of ways, from small donations to short volunteer stints, provided that the opportunities are present and the barriers to entry are low.

 MILLENNIALS FACILITATE (AND RELY ON) PEER INFLUENCE

Peer influence plays an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, participate in programs, and give. Even if Millennials can’t give as much as other demographic groups, they nonetheless are willing to help raise funds for causes they care about, usually by calling on friends and family.

RadiumOne survey: http://www.radiumone.com/about/press/hashtags-on-mobile-devices.html

Ways to use hashtags:

  • Using the search feature, your pre-selected hashtags can be a great way to identify a new audience. Be sure to follow the user and direct them toward your website.
  • Find photos to repost and share. Everyone loves a shout out on social media, especially your Millennial followers!
  • Host an online event. Using your favorite platform, plan a social media gathering where organization staff and volunteers can engage in dialogue. Using hashtags are a great way to put all users in the same “room.”