I have read countless articles and studies about what motivates “millienials” to give. Too often, they paint a one dimensional caricature of someone who wants to change the world by posting on facebook and texting a ten dollar donation. That caricature also does not represent any of our United Way Young Leaders because we are all committed to giving, advocating and volunteering in the United Way movement. At a certain point, I think we should stop studying each other and start talking to each other.
United Way Young Leaders Society held a refreshingly honest conversation about giving at our Think + a Drink: Giving Tuesday. AnnMarie Wakely, United Way leadership giver and member of the United Way Young Leader Society, was candid about why she gives. The same way she is an expert in her job, she appreciates United Way’s expertise and role learning, leading and uniting the community. She said other things may be more important to her as she ages but right now, she is a United Way Young Leader to learn about issues and opportunities in the community and to participate in the impact we are making together. Mark Mullinix, First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, shared his perspective as an established community leader. For him, giving is an essential part of leadership. While AnnMarie emphasized learning and Mark emphasized leading, their motivations were very similar. They are part of the United Way movement to create community change.
Audience members talked about how they are motivated by stories, United Way’s systems level change, and making a direct personal impact. They shared how they don’t compartmentalize giving because they can make an impact by where they work, bank, and eat. Check out some of the audience remarks on twitter at https://twitter.com/UnitedWayGRP.
Some say giving is personal and we shouldn’t talk about it. It goes into the category of impolite topics, like politics and religion. I disagree. Like our audience said, giving is part of who we are and we can all make a difference by sharing our story. Let’s continue the conversation about generational motivations in giving and United Way Young Leaders at Community Conversations: RVA Values on December 6, 2016, as featured in a recent article by Richmond Magazine.