This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Volunteers and generations

On Tuesday night the Jasper-Newton Foundation hosted a presentation about how organizations could attract volunteers. The theme of the presenter, Kenneth Culp III, was that different generations respond to different incentives and appeals and that many organizations are still trying to find volunteers with the methods that worked 70 years ago but which are no longer very effective with the newer generations. The attendance exceeded the expectations of the Foundation. The audience almost filled the conference room at the Farmhouse at Fair Oaks Farms.
Dr. Culp identified six generations: (a) the Civic or Builder generation born between 1901 and 1929; (b) the Silent generation born between 1929 and 1946; (c) the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964; (d) Generation X born between 1964 and 1981; (e) the Millennials, born between 1981 and 2001; and (f) the Digitals, born since 2001. Rather than tell you about the characteristics he attributed to each of the first five of these groups, I am going to list the characteristics in a random order and your challenge will be to assign the attributes to the proper group. Feel free to leave your answer in the comments and I will update this post in a few days with the correct answers.
(1) Interested in how volunteering benefits them, their personal life comes before job, not team oriented, focused on the short-term.
(2) Like stability, willing to help in any way they can, attracted to the mission of the organization.
(3) Efficient and economizing, willing to help others, attracted to the reputation of the organization.
(4) Interested in outcomes, attracted to volunteer opportunities that give them benefits or new experiences.
(5) Want to make a difference, work often comes before family, good team players, look for volunteer opportunities that fit their skills.
Of course when one speaks in generalities and stereotypes, there are many people that do not fit well in their chronological generations and may not fit into any of the sets of attributes that are given.

Update: Here are the generations matched to their characteristics:

Generation X: (1) Interested in how volunteering benefits them, their personal life comes before job, not team oriented, focused on the short-term.
Silent generation: (2) Like stability, willing to help in any way they can, attracted to the mission of the organization.
Civic or Builder generation: (3) Efficient and economizing, willing to help others, attracted to the reputation of the organization.
Millennials: (4) Interested in outcomes, attracted to volunteer opportunities that give them benefits or new experiences.
Baby Boomers (5) Want to make a difference, work often comes before family, good team players, look for volunteer opportunities that fit their skills.

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