Few generations have been as studied, measured, celebrated and vilified as the millennials (also known as Generation Y), defined as people born between 1982 and 2000. Consider these stats on millennials:
They confirm our perception of the millennial stereotype – connected, opinionated and entitled.
But there are also surprises, according to a 2015 CNBC Report:
- 84% of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014, and 70 percent spent at least an hour volunteering;
- On average, millennials give an annual gift of $481, and they prefer donating to children’s charities more than any other cause;
- 62% of millennials gave to charities via mobile phones, such as through charity apps, email blasts and text messaging.
In contrast to their self-absorbed stereotypes, millennials are a primed generation willing to mobilise and give for causes and issues they care deeply about. Millennials who are under the influence by their peers will donate to a cause that has social media momentum and effective marketing, like 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised a staggering $115 million in 6 weeks. Moreover, it’s not just about donating money. Millennials, more than other generations, also commit their time and skills.
In the lead-up to General Assembly’s The Future of Volunteering event and panel discussion, the Yump team sits down with Matthew Boyd, founder of Vollie, to discuss the challenges facing non-profit organisations and charities today, and how they can better engage millennials. Created by a collaborative team which includes Yump and Tiny, Vollie is an upcoming online platform that matches skilled young Australians to volunteering opportunities in their areas of expertise.
Yump: The creation of Vollie was inspired by your extensive volunteering experience and love of working with non-profits. What does Vollie do, in a nutshell?
Matt: Vollie will connect skilled young Australians with non-profit organisations and unlock a new style of skills-based online volunteering. Vollie projects are exclusively online, meaning that we match volunteers to causes that allow them to donate their skills and experience as a virtual volunteer from anywhere in the world, at any time. Professional volunteers will be able to find projects aligned with their skills and passions within a matter of minutes, and the application process is as simple as logging in via LinkedIn. Once completed, users will be able to add projects to their resume/LinkedIn and share their experience through Facebook. Launching in November, Vollie already has a host of exciting non-profit organisations committed to the platform, including Make-A-Wish, Greenpeace, Starlight Children’s Foundation, The Butterfly Foundation and Foodbank.
What are the challenges facing non-profit organisations in Australia today?
Non-profits in Australia are constantly cash and time poor. This restricts them from being able to innovate and achieve objectives beyond the mandatory ones that keep their organisation afloat. Another major challenge, hence the idea behind Vollie, is tapping into Gen Y/Millennials’ online behaviour and getting this audience to donate their skills as a virtual volunteer. There are also many non-profits in Australia screaming for the same dollars and support. This overwhelms people in this country, because for every cause, there are many non-profits trying to raise money and the public doesn’t know who the best volunteer organisations are.
What does the emergence of social enterprises mean for non-profit organisations?
It means there is more opportunity for innovation and evolving a sustainable way for non-profit organisations to achieve their objectives. Many non-profits continue to operate on tired and exhausted methods to fundraise and raise brand awareness, and the emergence of social enterprises is giving non-profits new opportunities to reach their audience and promote what they do. Social enterprises are embracing technology to create positive change to the world we live in.
What are the best ways for non-profit organisations to engage millennials?
Based on a great deal of primary and secondary research, I think Vollie has a good idea of this. Yes, volunteering can be a selfless act, but we have to see the personal value in it and communicate this accordingly. Vollie also breaks down volunteer work into project-based roles and this is appealing to this audience because there is a clear start and end to each bit of work. Gone are the days when someone young and in full-time work can commit to volunteer groups every other Sunday for the next 12 months. Finally, Vollie allows people to volunteer online around their busy schedule at times when they can spare a few hours to support a cause they are passionate about.
How does Vollie help non-profit organisations?
Vollie will help non-profits tap into a relatively disengaged audience that are highly skilled and can strategically support the work they do. Someone could certainly give $50 to a non-profit, but the feeling they will get from that donation will be short-lived and in all honesty the 50 bucks won’t go far. Instead we will motivate and inspire Gen Y to volunteer their skills, which are of far more valuable to a charity and in-turn will result in the non-profit saving thousands of dollars in salary costs and improving the way they operate that can lead to improvements in fundraising and more.
Why did Vollie choose to work with Yump?
We spent A LOT of time shopping around for digital agencies, and what first drew us to Yump was their work with Thankyou; a company we greatly admire. Beyond that, the first meeting with Yump’s Creative Director Yuan was really positive because not only did he get what Vollie was all about but also immediately started adding value to our business with insightful ideas and suggestions. Following the second meeting with the rest of the team including Brian, Simon and Holly, we were convinced they were the best digital agency in Melbourne to develop Vollie to our vision and turn our ideas into a viable product. The wealth of experience in Yump’s dynamic team ultimately made it a no-brainer!
Tell us more about the upcoming The Future of Volunteering event.
This is a FREE event organised in collaboration with General Assembly, which will discuss the future of volunteering and serve as a pre-launch for Vollie. There are talks as well as a panel discussion featuring Australia’s leading social entrepreneurs and representatives from charities including Starlight Children’s Foundation and Love Me Love You foundation. There will also be drinks, networking and an awesome opportunity for non-profit partners, social entrepreneurs, businesses and volunteers to come together.
The Future of Volunteering is held from 6 – 8pm on Wednesday, 12 October, at General Assembly Melbourne. Secure your ticket and find out more here