It’s harder than ever to involve the younger generation in associations. Younger members’
attitudes pose challenges that require creative and targeted strategies. Volunteer expectations, commitment and behavior are evolving away from the “old” association models.

1. They’re busy working harder than ever.
2. They want to spend more time at home with family and friends.
3. They “live” more in the virtual world and don’t see the point of networking face-to- face.
4. They don’t want to commit to a five-year experience ladder to gain access to a board or
officer position.

So what does an association do?

1. Attract the younger generation to your group and then let them define how they wish to
serve. It is the volunteer generation; they do want to volunteer. They want to have their ideas heard – but they want immediate feedback. They may want to work on just one project or task force at a time.

2. Make meetings fewer and more focused – and make them video conference calls whenever possible. Many members do not want to attend unnecessary meetings that entail fighting traffic. Be flexible in how information is shared: embrace email reports vs. face-to-face meetings. Be accepting of text messaging for quick reports. There is no longer any place or time for technophobia. Tech is here and it’s here to stay.

3. Encourage younger members help with tech and new ways of communicating. Encourage
them to make a one-minute video report or welcome message for members on your website. Or maybe they can help with website content or creation, or social media content.

4. Be honest and direct regarding what commitment is expected of the volunteer. Have a
definite start and end to one project they can commit to rather than assigning a task that never ends.

See Race for Relevance by Harrison Coerver.