Why millennials value volunteering
Despite stereotypes of being self-absorbed and apathetic, millennials actually care more about volunteering than older generations — at least according to a poll that the Associated Press and GfK conducted. This poll finds that people under 30 are more likely to say that citizens have a “very important” obligation to volunteer.
Why is volunteering so important to millennials? Perhaps because so many of them grew up in a culture that encouraged and even required volunteer work. For 24-year-old Morgan Gress, community service was required at her high school, and there were numerous opportunities to volunteer at her college.
Millennials’ passion for volunteering has transitioned from school to the workplace. Gress’ employer, a hub for tech startups called 1776, encourages employees to sort clothes at Bread for the City during office hours. In fact, Gress and her co-workers chose to volunteer instead of having an office holiday party.
Gress describes the rewarding feeling she gets after she volunteers: “You never walk away feeling you didn’t have a great time, or help someone out, or learn something new.”
Organizations like DoSomething have also played a significant role in encouraging millennials to volunteer. In a previous post, I discussed how DoSomething encouraged millennials to volunteer through their campaigns on a variety of social causes, including bullying, homelessness, animal rights, and disaster relief.
While the poll shows that millennials value volunteering, it also shows that they care less than older generations about other civic duties like voting, serving on a jury, and especially staying informed. So while millennials have a great track record in volunteering, they have room to improve in those other areas.
Have you ever volunteered? If so, how did it make you feel, and how did it affect the way you perceive the world?