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Generations: The Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit

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  1. Generations:The Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit Based on the widely acclaimed new book by Peter C. Brinckerhoff February 7, 2008 National Kidney Foundation

  2. Your Presenter • Peter Brinckerhoff • Corporate Alternatives, inc. • 125 Sailboat Lane • Union Hall, VA 24176 • 217-341-3836 • •

  3. Visit • Marketing, management, and tech ideas. • Recommended publications. • Not-for-profit links. • Free online newsletter. • Podcasts available on many topics.

  4. Generation Change • Generation change is something you can’t hide from. No demographic change is avoidable. • Nonprofits are challenged with generation change on the staff level, in board and volunteer recruitment, with marketing and tech changes, and in significant financial impacts.

  5. Who Are We Talking About? “Greatest Generation”-Born 1901-1924 • Thumbnail:Size: 20 million • When working with this generation, emphasize: Tradition, helping others, being part of a large-scale, valuable change. “Silent Generation”: Born 1925-1945 • Thumbnail: Size: 30 million • When working with this generation, emphasize: Tradition, loyalty to a key issue in their lives, value of joint work ethic.

  6. And… • “Boomer Generation”: Born 1946-62 • Thumbnail: Size: 80 million:. • When working with this generation, emphasize: Their value to the team, your need for them, their ability to improve your services, that your workplace is young and “cool.” Publicly recognize them whenever possible. Tell them that they can help “change the world” by working with you. • “Generation X” Born 1963-1980 • Thumbnail:Size: 45 Million. • When working with this generation, emphasize: Their value to the work of the organization, the value of independent thinking, that your organization focuses on work-life balance.

  7. And most recently… • “Gen@”: (GenY, Millenials) Born 1981-2002 • Thumbnail: Size: 75 million • When working with this generation, emphasize: The good that they and their peers can do by working with you, the challenge of doing good in the community and doing it well, the need for their new perspective andideas.

  8. Trends that Matter • Financial stress • Technological acceleration • Diversity of population • Redefining the family • MeBranding • Work-life balance

  9. Trend One: Financial Stress • First, there’s not enough money. • What there is will trend toward the Boomers. • Not just Medicare/Medicaid, also withdrawal from 401K’s. And remember as we age, we vote more! • And then, there’s the Federal Debt. • Finally, financial stress on families and students (read: current and future employees) from the cost of higher education)

  10. Trend Two: Tech Acceleration • A reality, not up for debate. • How you feel about tech acceleration is, in large part, defined by your generation. • Boomers see tech through bifocals: some good, some bad. • GenXers see it through tinted lenses: how can tech work for me? • Gen@?: They really don’t “see” tech at all-it’sinvisible to them, like air. It’s always been there. And, like air, it’s part of their environment. • Remember this—it’s really important.

  11. Trend Three: Diversity • We’re in our fifth great wave of immigration. • This is an issue in all parts of our country, urban-rural, coastal, central, north, south. • We HAVE to be able to accommodate this diversity in our marketing, services, hiring and fundraising. • Remember, it’s not just about language fluency. It’s about cultural knowledge, sensitivity and competence.

  12. Trend Four: Redefining Family • More Mobile: more spread out and more connected. In past generations, families moved, but they all moved together. Now, generations spread out. • More “stepped”. “Blended” families are more and more ubiquitous, but have a different set of wants and needs than “traditional” families. • More multi-racial. Sometimes from marriage, sometimes from adoption, multi-racial families are also increasingly common. • And your organization doesn’t deal with families? Think again.

  13. Trend Five: MeBranding • Tried to buy plain tomato soup, regular yogurt, or non-herbal deodorant? It’s hard. • Want to buy a shoe that only you have? You can. • If I only listen to my music, hear my news, have my 6 adjective coffee, and never have to try a one-size fits all anything…it becomes all about me all the time. • And nonprofits are all about other people. • In addition, customer now expect at least SOME customization or accommodation of services. • I call this MeBranding, and it has profound implications for nonprofits.

  14. Trend Six: Work-Life Balance • Boomers: “Live to Work!” • GenX and Gen@: “Work to Live!” • Don’t believe me? Draw the circles of “Work”, “Family”, and “Life” Have all the Boomers draw theirs and then all the GenX and Gen@ staff. Compare---and learn. • Want to do something really scary? Draw your circles and then have your family draw your circles.

  15. Generations and Your Staff • What % of your management team is over 55? • How deep is your bench? • Do you have Boomer-Gen@ conflict? • Is your management team prepared financially to retire? • Do you have an active and formal leadership development plan? • Is exec transition in your future?

  16. Generations and Your Board & Volunteers • For your board, you need a new mindset. • Embrace age diversity. • Re-examine your board skillset. You need one or more board members who are: • Generationally representative. • Tech proficient. • Media savvy. • Willing, capable mentors.

  17. The People You Serve-Boomers • If Boomers are who you serve, get ready: for the onslaught. • If Boomers are not your core constituency, get ready: for funding and interest to wane….for a while. • What about Boomers leaving your area? What if they are loyal customers/clients/patrons and are moving to retirement? • Or what about changing daily patterns for people who don’t move away • Downtown Y versus exurban Y? • Pay attention: Boomers have surprised everyone for 50 years…no reason to stop doing that now.

  18. The People You Serve: GenX and Gen@ • These people move in groups. They are herd animals…but don’t think lemmings. • They will check you out online FIRST. • They will value the opinions of their peers SECOND. • Are you prepared for that kind of scrutiny?

  19. Marketing To Generations-it’s the same for every market…. • Identify your market • Find out what your market wants • Develop or amend your service or product • Set a reasonable price • Promote and deliver the service or product • Evaluate • Start over

  20. What do Generations want from you? • Have you asked? • If not, how do you know? • Generalizing… • The older people are...the less hurry they are in. • Don’t forget late in life disabilities (hearing, sight). • Younger people want info all online. • Younger people seek new experiences in groups. • EVERYONE wants it their way….

  21. Technology and Generations • “So, what’s your iPod policy here? What about IM?” • “How are you integrating mailing lists into your community discussion and information groups?” • “How often do you check out blogs that discuss your organization specifically or your cause in general?” • “Can I donate to your organization online with PayPal?” • Huh?

  22. More tech questions… • “How do I get access to the Internet?” • “I am not comfortable around computers, so can you please mail me information about your services?” • “Why don’t you have a real person answer the phone during business hours?” • “I don’t have a (don’t like) credit card(s) . . . can I write you a check?” • These are tech questions too—and just as important as the first set.

  23. Financial Implications • Generation change has its financial cost…and some benefits. • When you attend to all the issues we’ve already discussed, there are financial impacts that need to be accommodated.

  24. Income issues • Your organization’s capacity to adapt to generational change affects its income. • Competition with Boomers for government dollars. • This is a long term issue. • It may be time to ramp up your advocacy efforts, if your main source of income is governmental. • MeBranding. • There are costs here, too. But ignore this at your peril. • The Boomers are moving out (or in) with their donations.

  25. Expense Issues • Retirement funding for workers of all ages. Higher salaries for higher educated workers. • Flexible benefits. • Cost of part-time workers. • Fewer full-time workers.  

  26. What can you do now? • Lots. But do it soon. • Let’s look at my Six Big Actions, and give you some hands on examples of how to use them as you move generational issues higher on your priority list.

  27. The Six Big Actions to help you deal with generation change • Include Generational Issues in Planning. • Mentor and Discuss among Generations. • Target market by generation. • Age Down. • Meet Techspectations. • Ask.

  28. Final Words • Generation change is the challenge of a lifetime for your nonprofit. • Pay attention, and get started. If you wait too long, you could seriously impair your ability to do high quality mission for the next generation of mission-recipients. • Good luck!