Have you heard about the great inter-generational divide facing many organizations today?
You have probably been part of it and didn’t even realize it. The inter-generational divide refers to the sometimes unfavorable discourse that surfaces during multi-generation interactions. Maybe you’ve heard that millennials have a sense of entitlement and aren’t easy to work with. Or maybe you’ve heard baby boomers are set in their ways and aren’t willing to try new things. These schools of thought do a disservice to the generations and they are prevalent in all aspects of the work environment, including the nonprofit world.
It helps to understand what groups are out there and the demographic they represent. Let’s take a look at some of the inter-generational groups you can expect to find in the nonprofit environment:
Nonprofit leaders need to promote inclusion, creative insight, collaboration and communication, ensuring that employees, board members and volunteers follow suit.
Additionally, recognizing these strengths and integrating them into your strategies will help build a well-rounded, functional atmosphere. An example of this might be embracing mentorship programs that encourage traditionalists and boomers to share organizational knowledge to help develop the millennials and xennials to carry on the organization’s mission. Another option, consider utilizing the collaboration skills of the millennials to lead a team during your next fundraising campaign.
The differences in opinions, values and work ethics should not be admonished but embraced, promoted and valued. This is how to bridge the inter-generational divide in your nonprofit community.
“We often hear about stepping outside ourselves, but rarely about stepping outside our generation.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
Program & Outreach Director for VCMC