April 3, 2017
By Judy McSpadden
Millennials – now there’s a term batted around quite a bit these days. Also called “Gen Y” or “Gen Next,” they’re the first generation of digital natives born between 1982 and 2004.
People are attaching all kinds of traits to this group, what one Vanity Fair writer called a “demographic bulge” with a tendency toward selfishness, coddling and even a lack of patriotism.
Those comments make some millennials hot under the collar. They reply with similar jabs at the Baby Boomers. Roger Sterling Jr., blogger for PostGradProblems.com, believes the term, Millennial, is an overused classification “generalizing a generation more overtly diverse than any age group before.”
Whether it’s due to Millennial cultural trends or to something else, OMK’s corporate partners tell us that prospective employees are looking beyond traditional pay and benefits when interviewing for new jobs. They also want evidence of corporate social responsibility — a corporate culture involving volunteering and giving programs.
Corporations can show CSR in various ways: cash donations, in-kind gifts, sponsorships and pro bono services. And then there’s “cause-related marketing,” the collaboration between corporations and nonprofits to boost company sales while helping a charity.
In a way, CRM is a combination of team building and community service.
Consider the people at Capital One in McLean, Virginia. For four years now, they’ve held company golf tournaments to benefit Our Military Kids. They collected items to be raffled. Then employees paid entry fees to play golf and to purchase raffle tickets. The local 2016 tournament raised $24,835, the highest donation amount to date. These golf tournaments are good social gatherings for Capital One and nice money makers for OMK – a real win-win.
A quick Internet search can reveal lists and lists of corporate team-building ideas, from raffles to car washes to casino nights. Team building helps employees build bonds and boost morale. It also builds job skills in communications, conflict resolution and planning.
Lockheed Martin, OMK’s longest running donor, routinely has bike building days in the Spring and Fall. Employees come together from around the country. While building bikes for military kids, they have a chance to meet up with colleagues at headquarters and from other locations. Another win-win.
Lids Foundation has partnered with OMK for five years. Currently, Lids employees are voting for their favorite of the top five charities named in their recent social media contest, called “Tip the Hat.” Fortunately, OMK made it to the top five. The winner will be announced on April 11. A peripheral benefit of the Lids-OMK CRM partnership was social media engagement – the increase in followers during a contest. You guessed it – a win-win.
Just as it’s risky to pigeon hole a 25-year-old into a Millennial stereotype, it’s also risky to presume a “one-size-fits-all” CRM event for every corporate-nonprofit partnership.
OMK, for example, is a small office with a national grant program. The children we serve live throughout the nation; they use our grants to participate in activities of their choice. Consequently, an event calling for children to work with employees would not be a good match. OMK gives to kids throughout the country, but it doesn’t have them on “stand-by” for events. On the other hand, a company team-building exercise that raises donations for grants would work well.
The ideal corporate-nonprofit relationship results when each side considers its partner – the partner’s mission, needs and abilities. Then with a bit of flexibility, CRM events can involve fresh teams working (and playing) to cross a variety of boundaries — generational, organizational, and more.