Why Charities Need More Millennials in the Workforce

There are almost seventeen million Millennials in the UK, accounting for a quarter of the total population. And as of 2017, they make up the largest generational workforce in the UK at nearly 35%. That number is projected to rise to 75% by the year 2025.

Yet according to CharityJob’s last Diversity and Discrimination Report, age continues to be one of the most common forms of discrimination in the third sector. There’s a growing generational gap separating the seasoned sector experts from the young, wide-eyed idealists looking to make a difference.

Recent research from the NCVO says the charity sector’s staff is likely to be older, with 38% aged 50+ compared to 35% in the public sector and 30% in the private sector, and charities were less likely to employ staff into their first job after leaving education.

So the question remains—why are Millennials still so under-represented in the third sector workforce?

millennials in charities

The benefits of bringing Millennials on board

Often characterised as lazy and entitled, Millennials are a grossly misunderstood generation. While the Baby Boomers are entering retirement age and Gen X are moving up in the hierarchy, Millennials are the do-ers, working on the ground to revolutionise the way businesses run in the UK. They represent a new era of talented, creative and tech-savvy optimists eager to redefine the workplace.

The good news is, Millennials are ideally suited to create impactful change in the not-for-profit sector.

They have an innovative mindset that helps them accomplish what other generations couldn’t via increased connectivity as well as the shift towards a more global mindset. And the best part? They’re socially responsible. In fact, 76% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental impact before deciding where to work.

But beyond that, many are taking to fundraising and promoting social change as personal ventures. They want to change the world and will find creative ways to make that happen.

Need a real-life example? Think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

It’s one of the most successful fundraising campaigns, with $115 million (that’s £88.8 million) raised and a massive public awareness.

The driving force behind the Ice Bucket Challenge? Enthusiasm-fueled Millennials.

So—here’s how charities can do more to appeal to the growing Millennial workforce and leverage all the amazing power and enthusiasm that comes with them.

millennial volunteers

Show the real-life impact of your organisation

Did you know that a staggering 63% of Millennials need a sense of purpose in their work? That’s because Millennials seek out causes they believe in.

Luckily, the charity sector is inherently purpose-driven. But just because your organisation is working towards a good cause doesn’t mean Millennials will immediately want to work for you. You need to showcase all the good you do—shout about your successful campaigns, share stories of people you’ve helped. The more real-world impact they can see, the more of a connection they’ll have with your cause.

As Jagoda Wieczorek, HR Manager at ResumeLab, puts it:

“ Millennials don’t want to work for another money-making powerhouse. They want to work on inspiring and impactful things that could change other people’s lives for the better. ”

So wear your social consciousness on your sleeve. Make it widely visible on your social media channels, show your values on your About Us page. Create inspiring content in the form of videos or personal stories that spotlights the gravity of your work and its impact on society.

For inspiration, take a look at Charity: Water’s About Us page:

Charity water uk about us page

First and foremost, they’re transparent. They immediately emphasise the importance of spending the money effectively and being accountable for the work they’re doing. That builds instant trust. Second, they share their impact. The usual corporate information is all there, it’s just packaged in a way that complements their company culture and their vision. They put faces behind the people that work with their cause, humanising the organisation. And with bite-sized, visual content, it’s easily digestible for a Millennial audience.

If you show Millennials they can make the world a better place, they’ll spend every ounce of their energy to help your cause.

Emphasise Flexibility

Here’s the thing, Millennials value work-life balance, and by implication, a regular 9-to-5 workday. They expect to take time off when they need it, even if it’s to care for personal and family responsibilities.

That’s because Millennials are two times as likely to have a partner who works full time compared to their parents. That said, they don’t mind answering an e-mail when on vacation or late at night.

So, to attract Millennials and utilise the skills they have on their CVs, you need to pave the way to the flexibility that most for-profits struggle to provide.

How? You can offer:

  • Remote working options. A few days working from home means less money/time spent on commuting.
  • Part-time hours. Working shorter hours allows them to accommodate other responsibilities.
  • Flexitime. Not everyone thrives in a 9-to-5 environment. Flexitime allows people to come in early or later and finish accordingly.

flexible working for millennials

Be Generous with Benefits

Now, we all know that charities struggle to compete with for-profits when it comes to compensation.

Problem? While Millennials are driven by purpose, compensation is still their top concern when making career decisions.

However, UK employees are increasingly ranking purpose over pay. According to a recent survey conducted by CharityJob, only 26.7% of candidates searching for a new career were motivated by salary, while 75.4% were after a career that could offer more fulfilment.

While not-for-profits can’t offer sky-high compensation, they can fill this gap by providing that clear-cut sense of purpose and plentiful benefits.

If you manage to offer nice perks coupled with meaningful work, you’ll dramatically improve your chances of luring top Millennials from the corporate world.

A few easy perks you could consider offering include:

  • Working from home allowances
  • Shared parental leave and pay
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Time off in lieu for volunteering
  • Shorter hours during slow periods in the year
  • In-office yoga and mindfulness sessions

millennial office perks in charity

It’s an investment worth making

There you have it. A whopping three surprising tips to attract Millennials to the not-for-profit sector. Considering how hungry Millennials are to make real and lasting change, you can only benefit from bringing them on board.

So what are you waiting for? Start diversifying your organisation today.

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About the author

Max Woolf

Max Woolf is a career expert at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and travelling to European countries. Follow him on LinkedIn.