Millennials have been skewered in the media as selfish, lazy, and apathetic. In 2013, Time magazine declared them as the “Me Me Me” generation.
Yet Millennials—defined as individuals born between 1980 and 1996, or those 20-36 years old today—have unique perspectives and skillsets to contribute to nonprofit organizations. Here are three reasons why you should consider inviting at least one Millennial to join your Board of Directors:
1. Diverse perspectives. Marcus Morrow, 35, a Board member for Achievement Academy of Durham and Durham People’s Alliance, warns that ageism is bad for organizational sustainability. “Boards made up of a single, collective perspective tend to approach problems and situations in a myopic manner,” he says. He suggests that Board members work to recruit from beyond their own peer groups and consider individuals with different backgrounds and experiences.
2. In-demand skillsets. Millennials often have skillsets—cultivated both professionally and socially—that are must-haves in the modern workplace. From expertise in social marketing to data mining to crowdsourcing, Millennials are adept at leveraging their everyday experiences and enthusiasm into tangible wins for professional and organizational gain.
3. Big hearts (and wallets). Despite their reputation as living off of Mom and Dad, Millennials are significant philanthropic contributors. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report from the Case Foundation found that 87% of Millennials donated money to a charitable cause in the prior year. In addition, nearly half had volunteered their time or skills to a charity in the previous month. As Millennials age and increase their personal wealth, there’s no doubt that they will become formidable influencers and contributors within the nonprofit sector.