Every generation approaches similar tasks differently and volunteering is no different. The differences between traditionalists, baby boomers, generation x-ers, and millennials can be seen in everyday life and the way they approach tasks. Each generation is looking for something else and each one has been shaped by the time it grew up in. With each generation bringing different skills and desires to the volunteering table, it’s important to learn about how each is different and what they’re looking to accomplish both for themselves as well as for whoever they’re volunteering for.
The four generations that will be volunteering in today’s day and age are the traditionalists (born around 1922-1945), the baby boomers (1945-1964), the generation x-ers (1965-1984), and the millennials (1085-2004). Each generation differs in preferred communication and what motivates them to work hard. Learning how to best utilize the various generations is necessary for both being as efficient as possible as well as to make sure they get along well. For example, traditionalists and baby boomers aren’t as comfortable with today’s current technologies and prefer to communicate over the phone or in person. With that in mind, it might be best to put them in charge of outreach either over the phone or canvassing in person.
Getting the different generations to work together is also important seeing as how each responds differently to tasks and compliments. Millennials crave attention and praise and frequently volunteer as a way to gain work experience. Getting them to ask questions from the older volunteers is a good way to satisfy their desire for experience while also making sure your older volunteers are happy too because they just want to be heard and respected. The older and younger generations should mingle so that knowledge is shared and both gain from each other while coming to understand and empathise with each other better. Most importantly, promote passion amongst all the volunteers. It might be dying in the elder ones and it might never have existed in the younger ones. That passion is what’s going to truly make all the volunteers work their hardest.
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