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Philanthropy Thought Leader Uncategorized

Tell Us a Story: Meeting Millennials Where They Are in Philanthropy

By Abigail Russell

Abigail Russell, Tocqueville Society Coordinator at United Way of Greater Atlanta

Abigail Russell, Tocqueville Society Coordinator at United Way of Greater Atlanta

Everyone seems to have a view of millennials. A perspective, if you will. Organizations and companies spend their time and resources conducting studies and engaging diverse groups of people who are a part of that generation to better understand their “highs, lows, yesses and nos.”

That’s why a quick Google search for “millennials and philanthropy” turned up hundreds of results. And the overwhelming consensus is this: We (because I happen to fall into this category) are changing the face of philanthropy, and as a whole, we long to connect and belong to something bigger than ourselves within the communities in which we have ties. When we invest in something, whether it is for a day or longer, we walk away and share our story and connection to the mission through social media and face-to-face conversations. That connects others to the causes we care about, creating a ripple effect. We have become the social issue billboard – poster children – for global philanthropy.

The nonprofits that win our affection, advocacy and action understand one important point: we are storytellers desperately in need of people, tools and motivation that will inspire us to share their mission, vision and purpose.  Pause a moment. Think about the most dynamic speaker you’ve ever heard. Someone who captivated the room in seconds. That’s the storytelling that millennials crave.

So we ask you to feed us right – nourish us with meaningful activities in our neighborhoods, season our minds with stories and strategies, fill us with reasons to continue to come back and sweeten us up by allowing us to share our ideas with you.

There are young professional groups in every arena of the nonprofit field imaginable. At United Way, we have YPL (Young Professional Leaders) and LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) We want to do good for the greater good of others, and we will. Just as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

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