October, 2012:

Don’t Give Millennials What They Want, Invest in Them Short Term

Willie Matis, Communications Coordinator, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, examines Generation Y’s feelings towards volunteerism and work in the non-profit sector.

Willie Matis

Posted: 10/26/2012 11:50 am

Millennials have been painted as know-it-all, me-first, do-now-ask-questions-later individuals. We are the generation that everyone has been trying to figure out. Nonprofits, especially, are trying to figure out how to further engage us — to reel our generation in and keep them as long-term advocates.

Data found in The Millennial Impact Report shows that 58 percent of our generation prefer to have a short-term volunteer opportunity.

What if there was a program that gave millennials a chance to commit for just a short time — to advance their resume by taking on leadership roles — and a program that also harnessed the millennial generation’s eagerness to make an impact? A program that was little to no cost for nonprofits to bring in this type of millennial… hmm.

National service programs are exactly the answer.

These are answers taken from a short questionnaire given to millennials who are currently serving as AmeriCorps VISTA’s or as ConAgra Child Hunger Corps members:

“Most nonprofit jobs that I was exploring required a minimum of a year to five years of experience. I wanted to start off in a nonprofit, but I knew I did not have the experience to successfully apply for the jobs I was interested in… ”

“I wanted to be a part of something new and exciting. Something that had the potential to make change, do good, and to give back.”

“I knew I wanted to make a difference.”

“I could get experience working in the nonprofit world without getting stuck in a permanent position that would make it difficult to go back to school.”

Millennials are embracing these programs. However, if you combine participation rates of AmeriCorps, Child Hunger Corps, Peace Corps, and the National Health Service Corps, less than 0.1 percent of the millennial population participate in these programs.

“Some [millennials] perceive service programs as a waste of time because the pay is not a lot.”

It’s true. The pay isn’t a lot. That perception is correct. But these service corps members can make a world of difference for any nonprofit.

Child Hunger Corps members spend two years at a Feeding America network member location with the mission to increase the number of nutritious meals and snacks to children in need in local communities throughout the United States.

I have seen the success of this program firsthand while beginning my work at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Eddie Oliver graduated from Macalester College in 2011 with a B.A. in political science. He joined Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana in August 2011 as a member of the second cohort of the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Corps and he has recently begun his final year of the two-year service program and is continuing to work on the implementation and evaluation of Gleaners’ youth programs.

Oliver’s first year was spent compiling needs assessments and analysis, leading into piloting our Summer Feeding Program for children who had little or no access to food during the summer months because they were not in school. The program piloted in three counties in rural Indiana, in communities where you have to take time to stop and remind yourself that you are still in the United States. In one of those three counties, one of every three children is food insecure. Because of our Child Hunger Corps members’ willingness to take charge of a program — despite making a small amount of money and having to move away from home — our Summer Feeding Program successfully provided more than 14,000 meals to hungry kids.

When asked whether or not they thought all nonprofits would benefit from some type of national service program that plugs young professionals into organizations, millennials offered a resounding response:

“One, it is free on the nonprofits’ end. Two, it is placing someone who is young, passionate, and
ready to change the world in an organization that, most likely, desperately needs help.”

“Who wouldn’t want to hire a group of open-minded, passionate, and dedicated young professionals who aspire to make the world a better place?”

“Young professionals don’t take service jobs because they can’t find something else, but because they want to effectively help people and gain experience.”

“Even if [service corps] members do not stay in the sector at the end of their placement, it is likely that they will continue to be advocates for that cause.”

Millennials tend to be very generous with their time. The Millennial Impact reports that 63 percent of the surveyed millennials volunteered for a nonprofit in 2011. Combine this with a millennial’s eagerness to gain professional experience and you have a population willing to serve.

The point here is not to disprove the millennial mindset I mentioned at the beginning of the post because I think it is a just generalization. But the point of this article is to open the eyes of nonprofits everywhere, that a small, short-term investment in young professional can go a long way. You will receive someone who is a know-it-all, someone who will refer to Google and Twitter to ask a question and dive deep until they find the right answer. You will receive someone who is me-first, who wants results that are successful in order to put more meat on their resume. And, you will receive someone who is do-now-ask-questions-later — this may scare you, but it will turn out for the better more often than not.

 Follow Willie Matis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/willie_matis



Hurricane Sandy Storm Update


Boston Public Schools: Closed on Monday October 29, 2020

Boston City Hall: Open for essential employees only. Non-essential employees are asked to stay home. 

Community Centers: Curtis Hall, Hyde Park, Paris Street and Tobin are open Monday October 29, 2020 from 7:30AM-6PM. Other BCYF centers will open only in the event of an emergency. 

Boston Public Libraries: Closed on Monday October 29, 2020 

Trash & Recycling: Collection will begin at 5AM. If you can hold items until your next scheduled day, please do so. Avoid placing out barrels or bins; instead please double trash bag for collection.

MBTA: All service will be suspended as of 2PM Monday October 29, 2020. Please visit www.mbta.com or call 617-222-3200 for more information. 

Hubway: All service will be suspended as of 10AM until further notice. Please visitwww.thehubway.com for more information. 

Parking: Daytime posted neighborhood street sweeping cancelled Monday October 29, 2020.  

All normal parking regulations remain in effect.

Reporting Issues: For storm related issues including reports of flooding, down trees or power lines, please call the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline at 617-635-4500.  
Emergencies: Please call 911.


Batten down the hatches - Superstorm Sandy is headed our way

Boston Public Schools will be closed Monday, and non-essential employees will be asked to remain home from City offices. The Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Curtis Hall, Hyde Park, Paris Street and Tobin Community Centers will be open tomorrow from 7:30AM to 6PM to provide a safe and secure location for parents to bring their children in light of the BPS closure. Other BCYF centers will open only in the event of an emergency that necessitates it. More details here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=5829

The Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline at 617-635-4500 is managing requests related to the storm including downed trees and power lines; follow @notifyboston for updates.


18-29-year-olds acknowledge country’s problems in new online survey but still hold out hope

LatinaLista — If you thought young Americans were only interested in the Kardashians, Jay-Z, the latest shoes, horror movies or action-packed video games, a new survey detailing their political opinions would remind us that isn’t the case. After all, more young voters turned out in 2008 than ever before.

Generation Opportunity, a national nonprofit that purposely engages young Americans on economic issues, released their latest online poll results of 1,003 18-29-year-old Americans on how they feel about China, the national debt, energy dependence and foreign policy/security concerns.

Surprisingly, young Americans appear to be more realistic about the future of the country and its role in the world than some of the adults but at the same time, to their credit, they’re seeing some opportunity.

While 28 percent perceive a lack of opportunities to start and grow businesses in the U.S., 72 percent feel differently. It’s this majority that will be the innovators of tomorrow and carry the country into the 21st Century — as long as today’s adults do their jobs.

Latina Lista breaks down the online poll here.