Why the Nonprofit Sector Should Make Room for Millennials


Many millennials are searching for purpose. Some pursue higher education, some backpack Europe, and some are still searching for it in their day to day life. As millennials have entered the workforce, many are motivated to make a difference in the world and are searching for jobs that allow them to do so. This demographic wants to go beyond social impact in their hobbies and spare time, they want it to be in everything they do.

Millennials care, and they are showing it. 

The nonprofit sector should recognize these demographic trends and begin nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, today. The world is changing and the nonprofit sector is changing with it. If organizations are looking towards a sustainable future, millennials and their professional development must become a priority. In order to attract millennials, whether as board members or directors, an organization must understand them, their professional goals, and their motivations.

Millennials are eager and ambitious, wanting to contribute to the greater good and feel valued in their positions. They are largely goal-oriented persons capable of multitasking and attracted to purpose-driven organizations that align with their core values.This demographic is passionate about a range of social issues, from racial justice to education, income inequality to animal welfare; all of which nonprofit positions can provide the opportunity to champion a cause they care about throughout their career. As they search for meaningful employment, the social sector must capitalize on their skills and desires by giving them the space and tools to excel in their work.

In order to attract and develop this generation of leaders, nonprofits must take into consideration what millennials look for in a workplace culture and what they require to be successful as leaders. Millennials prioritize their work-life balance, allowing them to have flexible hours in order to pursue other interests, volunteer work, and general wellness. They also seek a workplace environment with collaboration and engagement, providing strong communication through transparency and accessibility. Millennials also value the roles of technology, innovation, and creativity in their work and recognize the need for nonprofits to adopt these as well.

Nonprofits must assess their workplace culture to determine if it suits the needs and wants of this upcoming generation.  If they want to contend for leaders in the future, they must begin nurturing them now, by providing the opportunities to develop their skills and cultivate a workplace culture in which they can thrive.

Millennials care, and the nonprofit sector must give them the space to do so.