Are Millennials Changing the Idea of Community Service?
The most common misconceptions about millennials are that we are lazy, self-absorbed, and entitled. They say we don't take criticism too well and that our failures are a result of our helicopter parents’ success. Yes, we are constantly on our phones, and we have added made up words to our vocabulary. Some even quit ‘working for the man’ to travel and gain some life experience. We are nowhere near perfect, but what other generations do not realize is that millennials are actually more generous and driven than any other cohort. Did you know that our generation is the most community service-oriented, action taking, ‘lets make a difference’ generation alive today?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 92 million millennials. 92 MILLION. We are the largest generation in history and the most educated. Dan Schawbel, a millennial career and workplace expert, has collected serious data on the millennial generation. He found that 61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference and 81% have taken action by donating money, goods or services. A 2013 poll surveyed by Harvard University found that 34% of all millennials have volunteered for community service in the last year. Our generation has grown up with service hour requirements in grade school through college; making community service something instilled at an early age resulting in continued participation through adulthood.
Millennials typically support causes that raise awareness for something they are passionate about. Something that speaks to them. We look to the organization to inspire and show us that our actions will make a difference on a greater scale. We are an altruistic generation on a perpetual quest for meaning. After college graduation, millennials tend to look for jobs doing something they find enjoyable or that makes a difference in society. There is a sense of desire to work towards something much bigger than money. Something that makes a positive impact in people's lives and the world, even if that means lower wages. The Kauffman Foundation found that 54% of U.S. millennials either want to start a business or have already done so. Millennials want to make a difference and have a fulfilling job.
In addition to our unshakeable belief that people matter, we are innovative, tech-savvy team players that take multitasking to another level. We have the power and the education to turn community service into a career. Maybe the sense of entitlement is true about millennials, but aren’t you entitled to get what you want out of life? Millennials are changing the idea of community service simply because we are committed to making something of ourselves and of the world we live in.