Volunteer Power News - Number 104
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
© 2012 Advantage Point Systems Publishing
A warm welcome to all volunteer managers-those of you who recruit, motivate and mobilize volunteer workers.
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In This Issue
Featured Article: Why Are We Dissing Gen Y Volunteers When They Have So Much to Offer?
By Thomas McKee
"You are not going to diss on Gen Y are you? We are getting so tired of people tearing them down. If you are going to do that, we don't want you to speak to our group because we are finding that they are some of our best workers. They are creative, hard working and energetic compared to the cynical long-term employees who are just marking time until they can retire."
Who said those words? You will never guess. It was the head of human resources for a large business.
This month I am going to be speaking to the Oklahoma Human Resources Leadership Conference (OKHR). When talking with the program chairman, he asked me if I would mention the generational conflict in volunteer organizations. When I said that I often do, he warned me with the "Just don't diss on Gen Y-we are getting tired of it" comment.
These words were said by a human resources director-someone who actually supervises the hiring and firing of workplace employees. I was excited to hear his words because we have been talking about the untapped potential of this generation as volunteers for the last ten years (when the oldest Gen Y was only 20). When writing the book, The New Breed, I asked the co-author of the book, Jonathan McKee (who is also my son), to research and write about this generation because he is a leading authority on the "texting generation." His website and blog draw an average of 125,000 people a month. He has written nine books about connecting with teenagers, and he speaks to over 15,000 parents and youth workers each year, giving them practical insights about how to connect with young people today. He recently wrote this description about our generational leadership workshop.
Understanding, Recruiting and Leading the Texting Generation
The under 30 generation, the Millennials, are often called the "texting generation." How does a director of volunteer services communicate to this tech savvy generation who can't go 5 minutes without checking their Facebook status on their new smartphone? Can we even get their attention, and when we do, can we keep it for more than 30 seconds? Are they as dedicated as previous generations? How can we assure ourselves that they will follow through? In this workshop you will take a peek into the unique and rapidly changing world of this "texting generation," how they communicate and work with others, and how to recruit and lead them as volunteers in our organizations.
Jonathan's comments are written to provoke interest. He does not rip on the generation, but he does recognize that communicating with the texting generation is different.
While I was preparing my presentation for the OKHR Leadership Conference, I came across this article from Career Builder entitled, Gen Y's impact in the workplace by Amy Chulik, CareerBuilder Writer. She has something to say to those of us who recruit and lead Gen Ys in our organizations as she outlines eight factors that define the unique work strengths that they bring to the work place and also to our organizations as volunteers. Below I have greatly condensed her eight factors that define the Gen Y workplace expectations. I encourage you to read her article, Gen Y's impact in the workplace. It is enlightening.
Eight factors that describe Gen Y workplace strengths
But one of the biggest differences in the generations is how they work together. Klein notes:
The returning veterans are bringing skills that seem to be on the wane in American society, qualities we really need now: crisp decisionmaking, rigor, optimism, entrepreneurial creativity, a larger sense of purpose and real patriotism (as opposed to self-righteous flag waving). Indeed, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required a new military skill set, far more sophisticated than for previous conflicts - and far different from the yes-sir, no-sir rote discipline that most civilians associate with the military. "World War I was fought by large units like battalions," says John Nagl, a former Army officer who is chairman of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington think tank almost entirely staffed by this new generation of veterans. "World War II was fought by companies. Vietnam, by platoons. The current wars are all about small teams who have to interact with the local Iraqi and Afghan populations. That has required a different kind of soldier."
Just as these teams require a different kind of soldier, our volunteer teams require a different kind of volunteer. I applaud the Oklahoma Human Resource Leadership Conference that embraces Gen Y. And I encourage all of us who work with volunteers to recognize this talented and energetic group of volunteers. As the workplace is changing to the communication and leadership styles of the young, we need to check out just how we are adapting our organization to embrace Gen Y.
In my article, "Do you have a Gen Y friendly volunteer culture?" I have a short self examination quiz about your volunteer culture (it is in the middle of the article). Run it off and give to your leaders to test your culture. That self evaluation can help you jump start your way to involving a generation of Gen Y volunteers.
Volunteer Power Key-Notes, Workshops, Or An Education Day
The New Breed of Volunteer
A Volunteer Power Workshop
Recruiting and leading the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way
THE STRATEGIC CHALLENGE
The questions: Volunteerism is hot. From American Idol, Disneyland, Glee, Lady Gaga, President Obama to Wells Fargo, Intel and Wal-Mart, giving back is the rage.
THE TECTONIC SHIFTS THAT ARE CHANGING VOLUNTEERISM
The 21st century volunteer culture is very different because of tectonic shifts that have changed volunteer leadership. These shifts have impacted the volunteer organization; therefore, how we recruit and lead the New Breed of volunteer is a whole new game. The tectonic shifts include the following:
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