MCON 13 — Storytellers and NFPs

Usually, I try to keep my work-work and my fun-work (which really is what I consider blogging to be) separate.

Yesterday, though, I attended MCON13, a phenomenal conference about Millennials put on here in Indianapolis and drawing some of the big names from those in the field to talk about how Millennials engage. A new Millennial Impact study was also released yesterday. This is good solid research, not just touchy-feely things.

And here’s the thing I heard over and over again yesterday: Millennials respond to authentic stories about change.

First, I’ve fought for a long time against the moniker of being a Millennial. I like the idea of being a “cusper” — a term I heard yesterday — for those people right at the fringes of the generational switch from Gen X to Millennials. I am a cusper, but I realized in listening to all the panels that I really do have a lot in common with my Millennial generation. I may be an “old” Millennial, but I am one and things that inspire the younger Millennials also inspire me; I just have a hefty dose of Gen X cynicism that it’s ever going to work.

Second, the nonprofit world is crazy trying to figure out how to find new donors and how to engage with Millennials. Some are doing an amazing job. At MCON13, people started joking that there should be a drinking game for every time a presenter mentioned charity:water. (Here’s an authentic thing: I think what charity:water has done online is fantastic and amazing. I think clean water is important, but it’s not the thing that trips my philanthropic trigger and so I don’t support them or other clean water groups but I’m super glad there are people in the world that do.) Others organizations — and I heard this too at ALA — are trying to figure  out how to be relevant to this group of 20-34 year olds. That’s right, Millennials are heading toward their mid-30s!

Also, Millennials love skills-based volunteering. I don’t want to go work on a Habitat build (also, they do GREAT things) because I HAVE NO SKILLS in building. That cordless drill I own? It’s really so that when my dad comes to visit he can do project-y things and not have to bring his own tools.

For more insights, go to Twitter and look up the #MCON13 hashtag. Great people were posting great insights, photos, videos, links, you name it. For 12 hours yesterday, #MCON13 was a trending topic in Indianapolis and we hit the national trend in the afternoon for a few minutes. (Oooh, look at that “we.” Yep, I’m a Millennial…)

I don’t know what this idea is yet, but there’s something worming its way around in my head about skills-based volunteering for writers to help NFPs tell authentic stories. That’s all I got right now.

Oh, and this video from LoveSocial:



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