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The general conclusions drawn regarding this generation are that they are well-educated, entrepreneurial, ‘techie’ and
idealistic. They are risk takers and they want to use their knowledge to change the world. Unlike past generations, they want to make their passions, inspirations and desire to do good part of their work life as well as their private life.

What does this mean for interactions with the charity sector? A recent report by Professor Cathy Pharoah and Dr Catherine Walker, commissioned by City Philanthropy, highlighted the following: 53 percent of the under-35s want to volunteer more than they do; Nearly half of under-35s agree that employees are looking for companies which aim for social and environmental value as well as business success and profit. They have a greater expectation of what their employers can contribute and a desire for more opportunities to give time and money; 62 percent believe that opportunities at work to get involved in supporting charities and community groups help employees to develop work-related skills.

The report also showed that the most important factor in achieving more volunteering for respondents was the access to matching their skills and experience with appropriate opportunities. So it seems that there are strong indicators of the specific value of investing in the millennial employee’s willingness to support causes. At the FSI we work to support and develop small charities around the UK and speak to a lot of organisations who are desperate to engage with corporates but are also frustrated with, a perhaps slightly outdated opinion that these organisations only want to paint a few buildings for them. Whilst this can be useful, expert volunteering is a developing area and one which can really benefit charities, as well as those volunteering, and ultimately the company they work for.

One of the FSI’s programmes, Emerging Executives, offers employers and their employees exactly this. It is a talent management programme where we place talent from large companies onto the boards of small charities to gain practical board experience in a new and often challenging environment. The results have been excellent with a Head of Talent at Fujitsu, a global tech company telling us:

“What it does is give our people who are on a trajectory to get to board level the opportunity to really get experience sitting around a board table and making some critical decisions which are really going to affect people’s lives. Emerging Executives has been invaluable for things like motivation, relationship building, creativity, building confidence in individuals and we’ve seen success with these people, we’ve seen them go on to do bigger, more important jobs. We are finding that they are really developing as leaders as a result. People cite it as one the key development points in their career”

A graduate of the programme added the following showing the programme can meet the needs of millennials “I’m extremely proud to work for a company that places being a responsible business at its core. The partnership with the FSI and local charities has simply been fantastic and I think the experience has proved invaluable for all.”

Millennials are driving a fundamental change behind the way we think about corporate culture and the potential for impact in the third sector. Firms that are attracting and retaining the best and brightest of the next generation understand that they need to focus not only on their company’s charitable giving but also on how they are creating opportunities for their employees to ‘do good’. Empowering a workforce in this way helps to achieve productivity, personal fulfilment and ultimately workplace satisfaction.

Perhaps the way forward which would provide the ultimate benefit for companies, their employees, charities and ultimately their beneficiaries is to make real use of millennial’s drive, skills and desire to support organisations doing amazing work across the UK and overseas.

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