Millennials, like other generations, have come to be known for the qualities which characterize them. As these 23 to 38 year olds become the majority of the workforce, many businesses and organizations have found themselves scrambling to discover the strategies that work best to harness the strengths of this generation of employees.
What motivates millennials?
What do they value?
How can they be led well?
These questions have left leaders from all sectors scratching their heads.
It makes sense that coaching millennials in fundraising has also made a perplexing ripple in the world of MPD.
Here are six key generational factors that can help us understand how to best coach support raising millennials.
Coaching should be regular, scheduled, and personal. Millennials tend to be highly relational and yet can easily feel isolated. This is due in large part to the prevalence of social media in their everyday lives. There is a great desire to be part of a community, but the connections found via social media are often shallow and void.
Take time to hear from millennials you are coaching on a personal level too; do not only discuss their funding.
Additionally, have them work on funding together in a group or cohort. Include both individual connections with each person regularly, and group connections either in person or via video conference call. This allows them to engage with others who are in similar situations and feel less alone.
There is a driving desire among this generation for each individual to be perceived as unique. With the entire world accessible through online connection, millenials need to know they are seen and heard. They often believe their experiences are exclusive to them and may, therefore, believe they deserve the right to be exempt from or to modify what they are being told to do.
One of the best principles to enforce when coaching millennials is “do it our way” first and then discuss modifications after a period of time. Help them understand the “why” is not just because you (or the organization) say so, but offer data and facts to support the effectiveness of the methods you are using.
Clearly, millennials have the capacity to give. However, they are most likely to give when they can see tangible impact from their giving and to causes in which they feel personally invested. They want to make a difference in the world and want to feel good about the contribution they are making. This can also lead to a desire to see immediate progress once they get involved and a need to be affirmed for the worth of their contribution.
Cultivate an understanding that their efforts in fundraising and relationship building with their ministry partners are equal in value to their ministry efforts in the field. It can be easy for them to see fundraising as a means to an end, and helping them see the ongoing value will solidify its weight and importance.
This generation tends to be fast-paced and short-term focused. They are the microwave generation in a era where the technology and the world are shifting so fast you have to move quickly to keep up.
This means when they get involved in a task, they want to see the results of their efforts right away. The ability to see daily accomplishments and forward movement will help them to feel as though results are coming in right now.
Establish incremental ways to track and measure progress during the fundraising season. The funding process can be long and requires patience so these daily “wins” will help to keep momentum up.
Millennials want their world to be integrated and compatible with their tech-driven lifestyle. This generation is constantly connected, whether through their phones, watches or computers. These technologies are part of their everyday life. Be open to using multiple methods of communication with the millennials you are coaching, most often texting and video conference calling, and online methods of progress tracking such as databases or Google sheets. However, be aware when millennials need to be pushed to prioritize personal, face-to-face connection with their partners.
Work ethic, time management, creating budgets and other life skills were widely removed from school curriculum for this age group, and unless they were learned at home, many millenials may still be growing in these areas. Be prepared to help them develop these necessary tools for healthy, balanced living as well. Ask pointed questions about how they are spending their time, and help them create their weekly calendars for this season. A bit of life coaching should always accompany the funding coaching.
Understanding these six traits can help us equip our millennial missionaries towards full funding and coach them to their full potential for the kingdom.