Last night I was fortunate to attend a small event benefiting the Global Health Corps – an innovative, millennial-driven global health organization developed by former first-daughter Barbara Pierce Bush. The concept is unique: find passionate young professionals with no background in public health (but with exceptional backgrounds in areas of supply chain, engineering, communications and everything in between) and equip them with training and on-the-ground experience in developing countries to generate a new wave of global health leaders.
This organization is innovative for many reasons – but in particular – it reflects a growing global trend towards tapping into millennials as advocates for social good causes. While millennials might not be the CEOs of million-dollar companies or even heads of state, this generation is arguably one of the most influential in today’s interconnected age. In fact, millennials are…
- More attuned to global causes. millennials tend to view themselves as “global citizens” and they see the need to redefine value and the terms of success. After all, millennials are on course to be the most educated generation in American history and have grown up in an increasingly connected and globalized world.
- Morel engaged in social media. It’s no surprise that three-quarters of millennials have created a profile on a social network, with over 80 million users ages 18-34 on Facebook. And they are doing much more than simply joining these sites. In fact, this generation depends on social networking sites more than any other age group for personal connections and self-expression. One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Even more so, 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed.
- More likely to ‘buy with an eye’ toward the greater good. Millennials (in addition to moms) are keener to shop for products that support a cause. According to a recent Cone study, ninety-four percent find cause marketing acceptable (vs. 88% average) and more than half have bought a product benefiting a cause this year.
- More likely to work for companies that share their values. A recent study by One Young World found that roughly 60% of millennials seek to work for only for a company that “shares their values.” A majority of millennials entering the workforce would rather earn a lower salary for an organization whose mission and values they believe in than making more money for a competing organization that is viewed as “less socially responsible.”
In sum, companies, organizations and even governments should take a lesson from the Global Health Corps’ playbook and learn to develop effective ways of engaging this generation. Social media and social good – two areas that are evidently important to millennials – might be a good starting point. After all, in a few years, this generation will be calling the shots.