Millennials don't want to just participate in cause efforts, they want to be involved

Millennials are more willing than members of past generations to get involved in cause-marketing initiatives. They're just waiting for brands to reach out to them.

NEW YORK: Millennials want companies to engage and involve them in cause-marketing initiatives, said Lenore Feder, director of communications and CSR at Viacom.

Feder, who spoke on a panel at the PRWeek Conference on Tuesday in New York, said that Viacom recently held a contest where it asked kids to submit ideas for an app to help teenagers fill out student-loan forms.

The company selected one of the ideas: pulling information from users’ Facebook profiles for the documents. Feder said it was successful because it was "by kids, for kids."  

Milinda Martin, VP of community investment, corporate brand, and reputation at Time Warner Cable, said on the panel that most Millennials have been involved in community service efforts since high school, which is why they’re so eager to participate.

Time Warner Cable teamed up with VolunteerMatch.org to launch a portal that allows employees to find volunteer opportunities near them, added Martin.

More than half of Millennials want to make the world a better place, according to a 17-country study conducted by MSLGroup.

Also, more than half of the world’s population is under 30 years old, and by 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce, according to the study.

When the audience was polled during the panel, an overwhelming majority of attendees said they believe that Millennials have a poor work ethic. However, Amy Hargroves, director of corporate responsibility at Sprint, disagreed.

She said this perception about Millennials is based on "baggage" from other generations where they associate the younger demographic as being in college and not working.

Feder added that she does not think Millennials are working less, but are working differently because of social media.

Martin echoed Feder’s sentiment, saying that technology has allowed Millennials to band together and amplify their voices, which is a powerful tool that previous generations didn’t have.

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