by Leah Lomotey-Nakon

At our most recent CONNECT forum, Sherri Neal, Vice President of Cultural Development & Inclusion at HCA discussed intergenerational diversity. The focus of this CONNECT forum was how nonprofit organizations can engage millennials in fulfilling their missions.

In a panel discussion, two nonprofit executives alongside Millennial volunteers discussed this topic. Participating in the panel discussion were Brian Williams, President & CEO of Hands On Nashville, and Valerie Wynn, Executive Director of the Mary Parrish Center for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence. Alongside these nonprofit executives, were two Millennial volunteers, Kunal Marwah, who is a volunteer with Hands On Nashville and a HCA employee, and Austin Brown, who is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University and a board member of the Mary Parrish Center.

Below are a few takeaways from our discussion. As each individual is unique, please keep in mind that these takeaways are based on individual perspectives and should not be applied to all individuals in a generation.

  • Millennials want to be treated as peers and colleagues. They don't want to be treated as "kids." Although they may have limited experiences, Millennials want to contribute and want their contributions to be valued.
  • Millennials ask the question "Why?" They want to know the impact of their efforts. Nonprofits need toarticulate program outcomes and community impact to engage millennials.
  • Branding can help catch the attention of Millennials. Millennials are often accustomed to being bombarded with a lot of information. A brand needs to stand out to be recognized.
  • Millennials want face to face communication. The idea that Millennials only want to interact virtually is a myth. They want to interact in-person. This in-person communication is supported and enhanced by additional digital communication.
  • Millennials want to know what they can give and get. Millennials are eager to engage. Tell them not only how they can help your nonprofit (what do they offer?), but also what they will get out of it (learning, experience, & impact).
  • Millennials are eager to build community. There's a great opportunity to engage Millennials inwork to build stronger communities.

This topicsparked great discussion. We are grateful to Sherri Neal and our panelists for starting this conversation. Please continue this conversation in the comments section below or on Twitter @HCAFoundation #CONNECT.