Guest blog post by Emily Yu, Social Citizens
As a longtime partner of Achieve, and returning sponsor of MCON12, we at the Case Foundation are not only excited by the high-profile speaker line up and the chance to further explore the implications of the Millennial Impact Report, but also by the opportunity to help improve the work of nonprofits, corporations and other organizations looking to move nearly 79 million Millennials to action.
One of the primary conclusions shared by the report’s authors is that Millennials represent a study in contrasts.“These young donors are fully immersed in the page and technology of our times, but they are also invested in timeless values.”
Through the lens of our Social Citizens program, we take this play on contrasts to describe a new environment where Millennials are taking risks, being bold, failing forward and working in new and unexpected ways to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We see bold young leaders rising from the next generation who are adopting new technology, fostering transparency, developing new tools, new approaches, and the unique characteristics of their generation—collaboration, openness, transparency, cross-sector mindsets, and passion to do good—to create change in fresh and fearless ways.
The intersection between MCON12 and the launch of the Case Foundation’s Be Fearless initiative has challenged us to revisit our own work with Social Citizens. In looking at the Millennial Impact survey responses, tendencies attributed to this generation, and their ability to collectively harness their power and influence to impact others, has left no doubt in our minds that one key trait that should be added to that of Millennials – is Fearless.
Throughout our exploration into what it means to Be Fearless, we’ve seen five core concepts arise and share these with you in the hopes that we can use these concepts to help further our discussion and understanding of engagement with Millennials.
- Make Big Bets – and Make History: There’s no question that making change, working together and pushing the envelope in a BIG way is just part of their DNA. We are inspired daily by the work of young changemakers such as Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino; Barbara Bush with Global Health Corps; and Josh Nesbit of Mobile Medic just to name a few.
- Experiment Early and Often: They are our early adopters and the ones who take the lead on just about everything. The bottom line is that if they see a problem they’ll find a way to solve it – and chances are it won’t be the traditional or easy path.
- Make Failure Matter: One example is the rise of entrepreneurship and increase in Millennial-owned start-ups. Embracing failure on the path to success has helped this group adapt in the face of a weak economy, high unemployment rates and rising student loan debt.
- Reach Beyond Your Bubble: One of the unique tendencies of this generation is that they thrive on co-creation and cooperative movements. It’s a new approach that has created amazing new platforms and projects – take for example Change.org started by Ben Rattray, an organization that allows anyone from Chicago to Capetown, to start their own grassroots campaign for change.
- Let Urgency Conquer Fear: As noted in the Millennial Impact report, Millennials want results and they want to know where their efforts are going. The same sense of timing applies to Millennials even when choosing volunteer activities. They want opportunities to respond immediately to inspiration. This generation gets it; they get the need to not let fear hold them back.
In what other ways do you think the Millennial generation can Be Fearless? How else could these five core concepts be applied to the learnings from the Millennial Impact report or MCON12?
Emily Yu is the Senior Director, Marketing and Partnerships for the Case Foundation and leads Social Citizens, an initiative of the Foundation focused on highlighting and developing fearless next gen changemakers. Visit SocialCitizens.org and follow Emily on Twitter at @SocialCitizen.