Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Musings from a Millennial
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Ok boomers—listen up. It’s time to get serious about attracting young professionals to your associations. While boomers and older Gen Xers may be the current leaders of their associations, in the next 10 to 15 years, new generations like millennials (*gasp*) will be the ones leading associations.
Hi, I’m Monica, your friendly millennial and young professional. I may be new to the workforce, but I am not new to things like memes, social media, the lingo that “kids nowadays” say and pretty much anything that captures the attention of people my age. And yes, this includes content on professional platforms like LinkedIn. You might be asking, “Monica, what does any of this have to do with getting young professionals to join my association?” My answer: LITERALLY EVERYTHING.
Currently, most young professionals are Gen Xers and millennials. (For the purpose of defining the age ranges of generations, I’m using data from Pew Research Center.) Within the next five years, Gen Zers will also join the workforce. This means that the current young professionals who will one day become the leaders of associations are 18 to 38 years old. I know, big yikes (that’s what people my age say when reacting to pretty much anything).
Time, cost, absence of peers their age in associations and the lack of perceived value of being a member are only some of the reasons why associations aren’t seeing younger people join. While the reasons may seem endless, it comes down to culture and understanding how new grads to mid-30-year-olds view things like associations. It also comes down to the lack of knowledge young professionals have about associations. Unless we go and explicitly seek out an association, we may never know it exists. Just because your organization has a Twitter account doesn’t mean young professionals see or follow it.
So how can you make sure your associations will appeal to new generations? To put it simply, you need to adapt to your audience. It’s time to stop blaming millennials for ruining everything and thinking they hate boomers (when really boomers might be part of the problem), and instead find new ways of welcoming and positively interacting with young professionals.
Over the next several months, I will share ways your association can get serious about reaching young professionals. Be sure to check back for upcoming articles in the “Musings from a Millennial” series, which will include:
- Connecting with Young Professionals on Social Media
- Turning Experiences into Content
- Connecting with Incoming Young Professionals
- Writing for a Young Professional Audience
- The Importance of Staying Relevant and Avoiding “Cancel Culture”
We also would love to hear how your organization is adapting to younger audiences—so please contact us if you have suggestions and ideas to share.
Monica Roselli is a content associate at SmithBucklin
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