Does Your Nonprofit Consider the Needs of Millennials or is Leadership Stuck in the Past?

by Nick NCS. Spencer 6/19/2015 at 9:18 AM in Ideas, Not-for-profit, Opinions

I recently read an interesting article called, “Why Millennials in the Workplace ‘Don’t Care,’ and 4 Things You Can Do.” (Gillenwater, 2015) I thought back to my time working for a large Association Management Company (AMC) and how they quickly adapted and listened to their staff.  This AMC embraced change and valued suggestions from employees at all levels. While working in such an inclusive and innovative environment, I would observe the opposite practices from the associations we served. Many of these associations were unwilling to embrace change.
Embracing change and valuing the contributions of all individuals is something Millennials greatly value. So why are so many associations reluctant to change? Some of the concerns associations have about changes include: time to examine changes, possible voting requirements and bylaw changes, or board member attitude.
It got me thinking, if many associations and nonprofits are slow to change, how are they addressing the needs of current or future members of the Millennial Generation?  Millennials are generally referred to those born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s and comprise a staggering 76 million people in the United States (Rouse, January).  These individuals are quick to change and adapt since they have grown up with access to the computer and internet their entire lives.
On a recent project I, along with my team at Sutton Enterprises, have been working with a large national medical association, carefully examining their membership processes.  This organization has chapters or subsets in all 50 states and they each approach their membership recruitment process differently.  Some are more tech-savvy, using iPads at events to sign members up on the spot, while others prefer to use paper sign-up sheets or direct potential members to the website to apply.  After several discussions, they realized that although some members may prefer to speak with a live staff person, others may prefer to only have contact through the web.  The organization lacked the ability to capture all potential members because they were not catering to the preferences of their audience.
Being relevant to ALL members means not only successfully managing their needs, but looking ahead to see what trends are preferred by your membership base.  Take a look at your Mission Statement and ask yourself: “Is it only addressing the needs of a few?  Will your inability or reluctanc

I recently read an interesting article called, “Why Millennials in the Workplace ‘Don’t Care,’ and 4 Things You Can Do.” (Gillenwater, 2015) I thought back to my time working for a large Association Management Company (AMC) and how they quickly adapted and listened to their staff.  This AMC embraced change and valued suggestions from employees at all levels. While working in such an inclusive and innovative environment, I would observe the opposite practices from the associations we served. Many of these associations were unwilling to embrace change.

Embracing change and valuing the contributions of all individuals is something Millennials greatly value. So why are so many associations reluctant to change? Some of the concerns associations have about changes include: time to examine changes, possible voting requirements and bylaw changes, or board member attitude.

It got me thinking, if many associations and nonprofits are slow to change, how are they addressing the needs of current or future members of the Millennial Generation?  Millennials are generally referred to those born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s and comprise a staggering 76 million people in the United States (Rouse, January).  These individuals are quick to change and adapt since they have grown up with access to the computer and internet their entire lives.

On a recent project I, along with my team at Sutton Enterprises, have been working with a large national medical association, carefully examining their membership processes.  This organization has chapters or subsets in all 50 states and they each approach their membership recruitment process differently.  Some are more tech-savvy, using iPads at events to sign members up on the spot, while others prefer to use paper sign-up sheets or direct potential members to the website to apply.  After several discussions, they realized that although some members may prefer to speak with a live staff person, others may prefer to only have contact through the web.  The organization lacked the ability to capture all potential members because they were not catering to the preferences of their audience.

Being relevant to ALL members means not only successfully managing their needs, but looking ahead to see what trends are preferred by your membership base.  Take a look at your Mission Statement and ask yourself: “Is it only addressing the needs of a few?  Will your inability or reluctance to change make your organization irrelevant?”

Gillenwater, R. (2015, January 29). Entrepreneur. Retrieved June 19, 2015, from www.entrepreneur.com: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246437

Rouse, M. (January, 2015 Not Specified). http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation. Retrieved June 19, 2015, from http://whatis.techtarget.com: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation​

 

© 2015 Nick Spencer & Sutton Enterprises Inc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Nick is an experienced Marketing, Branding and Association Management leader. Throughout his career, Nick has developed various strategies to support the nonprofit and association management worlds. At Sutton, Nick develops Marketing and Sales Strategies and plays a key role in the development and implementation of special projects.​

Learn more: Sutton Enterprises
Connect on LinkedIn: Company Page

Follow on Twitter –   Help4NFPs ​​

​​

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *