You might hear... Seniors are the ones who care about the broader community and are the backbone of volunteer programs and service organizations. Young people are selfish and don’t want to make commitments.
Or this... Young people are the true activists today. Older people may do nice, helpful things as volunteers, but cutting- edge work for social change is being done mainly by the young.
What Does this Mean for League? Understand differences Embrace differences Be open to try something new and relinquishing some power
Silent Generation Born 1925 to 1945 ~ 30 million Americans DEFINING MOMENT: Pearl Harbor, 12/7/41
Values Dedication to their job Follow the rules Respect for authority Prefer hierarchal organization Patient (don’t need instant gratification) Traditional expectations May use computers to communicate with children and grandchildren Cautious about technology
Baby Boomers Born 1946 to 1962 ~ 80 million Americans Largest generation in US history DEFINING MOMENT: President John Kennedy’s assassination, 11/22/63
Values May have workaholic tendencies Loyal to organizations Support personal causes Hard workers (want gratification from work) Seek self-improvement and growth Like technology that “works” and makes their lives easier
Gen X Born 1963 to 1980 ~45 million Americans DEFINING MOMENT: Challenger Disaster, 1/28/86
Values Seek balance between work, volunteerism and personal life Loyal to people Relatively informal “team” work and volunteer style Self reliant Want to have fun at work and volunteer activities Like to work with latest technology Aware of diversity and think globally
Gen Y/ Millennials Born 1981 to 2002 ~70 million Americans Children of boomers DEFINING MOMENTS: Columbine High School Killings, 4/20/99 and World Trade Towers Bombing, 9/11/01.
Values Demand balance between work, volunteerism and personal life Self-assured and achievement–focused Loyal to ideas, causes and products Strong morals and community service Eager to make a positive impact while volunteering Tolerant Expect the latest technology Expect an active voice in decision making and planning Want immediate feedback
Commonalities? To Feel valued 85% Recognition and appreciation 74% A Supportive environment 73% A Capable workforce 72% To Be part of a team 68%
Work/Volunteer-Life Balance Boomers: – “Live to Work!” – Work is a location Gen X/ Gen Y: – “Work to Live!” – Work is an activity
Scenario 1: “Wow! You remind me so much of my granddaughter.”
OR.... “Wow! You remind me so much of my grandma!”
Scenario 2: The League President explains the details of a very important project, but... the Communications Chair, keeps checking her iPhone during the Board Meeting.
Scenario 3 The board is discussing the weekly hot topics luncheon they’ve been doing for years. The newest member of the board is vocal about some new ideas.
Scenario 4 One board member thinks that it would be great to start up a League Facebook page, but there is a lot of resistance at the board meeting.
“The solution to generational differences has to do more with respecting people as people and unique individuals than any prescribed formula.” ~Paula Gregorowics, The Paula G Company
Questions for League In recruiting for and recognizing volunteers, do we imply that older or younger people are the most involved or are the best?
Questions for League Do we determine goals and choose activities without any consideration for whether another age group is also involved in some way?
Questions for League Do we confuse changes in volunteering with the demise of volunteering?
Other Thoughts Meeting in the middle Different isn’t wrong Focus on similarities and strengths
Special Thanks to: “PART TWO: Managing Event Volunteers Across Generations” by Florence May “Bridging the Generation Gap” Workplace Learning and Performance: Building the Skills for Your Success facilitated by Deborah Laurel for the South Central Library System, Laurel and Associates, Ltd. “Understanding the Different Cultures of Different Generations” by Peter Brinckerhoff, the Bridgespan Group
Special Thanks to: “The Volunteer Generation Gap” by Susan J. Ellis, http://www.energizeinc.com/hot/resjul00.ht ml http://www.energizeinc.com/hot/resjul00.ht ml Generations at Work, by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak. (New York: AMACOM, 2000) pp. 63-91
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