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Why Millennials Love the Nonprofit World

Nonprofit jobs used to be “stepping-stone” work for students, since that was how many new graduates gained experience before they moved into better-paying corporate jobs.

June 20, 2014

Nonprofit jobs used to be “stepping-stone” work for students, since that was how many new graduates gained experience before they moved into better-paying corporate jobs. Since millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) have started graduating from college and seeking employment, however, there’s been a noticeable uptick in nonprofit interest. They aren’t using these jobs to eventually launch themselves into a new company — they’re using them to develop a more effective nonprofit organization, and their next job may well be another in the nonprofit industry.

Millennials Are Drawn to Nonprofit Careers

Why are millennials passionate about nonprofit environments? There are several reasons related not only to their general upbringing, but also to their view of the world. By 2020, they’ll make up 50 percent of the workforce, since they number somewhere between 80 and 90 million. (Compare that to the Baby Boomers generation, with around 75 million in that group).

  • Many millennials grew up volunteering for causes for which they developed a passion. Whether it was global warming, organic farming, special needs assistance, or a health-related issue, they learned from any early age that things improve through real, hands-on work. At first, they were the only ones who had the time to devote to these causes. Later, after internships and graduation, they realized that they wanted to use their skills as nonprofit organization staff.
  • They willingly combine their interests and their careers. Instead of dividing their time between what they love and how they work, they want to do both as employees. They want to be involved in their work, because they don’t just think of themselves as an employee — they think of themselves as an important part of the organization for which they work. When they view their work life as a partnership, they’re more likely to invest in companies or nonprofits that embrace their interest, regardless of the project.
  • They embrace fresh thinking. Many millennials are used to tearing apart something to get a different, better result. They aren’t afraid of modifying work practices, and if they see a more efficient way to make something good happen, they’ll likely want to lead the way. A nonprofit environment is ideal for that kind of effective transformation.
  • Millennials aren’t afraid to reach out. Many nonprofit organizations must raise a certain amount of funding each month or year in order to be able to promote their causes and satisfy their mission statement. Millennials may give less money than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts, but they give more consistently, and their sheer numbers help produce more donations than others. They also are comfortable asking others to help through volunteer work.

If you are interested in furthering your career in a community-centered field, Lindenwood University Online offers an online graduate degree in Nonprofit Administration for students of any age. The convenience of online learning allows you to earn a master’s degree while continuing to work. Contact us today to learn more and to start the next step in your educational journey.

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301