The Relevancy Alarm Has Sounded…Anyone Listening?

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Culture, Innovate, Leadership, Marketing, Retention
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No medium has ever survived the indifference of 25 year olds.Clay Shirky

If I worked in the 8 track tape industry, I’d be real nervous.

What if we altered the brilliant Mr. Shirky’s statement a little:

No organization has ever survived the indifference of 25 year olds.

The generation born between 1978 and 1992 are referred to as Millenials.  They are one big and powerful crowd — sorry Boomers, but in 2008 there were 77.6 million millenials to your 74.1 million and despite your best efforts, the fountain of youth has eluded you as it has generations prior.  Enjoy your time leading while you can — there is a strong and larger generation coming and they are very, very different.

In their book The Networked Nonprofit (Amazon link), Beth Kanter and Allison Fine state:

If alarm bells aren’t ringing inside of nonprofit organizations right now, they should be — loudly.
Millenials represent a potential fatal blow to the large, ongoing membership donor bases for traditional organizations.

If that doesn’t send a chill up your spine…it should.

Millenials are like weather vanes, moving with the slightest change in a societal, technological, or cultural breeze.  They are fickle and move from flavor-of-the-month at a breakneck pace with a different definition of loyalty (just ask MySpace).

Strong organizations will not try to “capture” the millenials it hopes to serve, hire or involve.  Strong organizations will restructure in order to evolve with millenials, it will be the only way to remain relevant.  Don’t focus on the generational divide, focus on building the bridge.

Start having the conversation now or soon no one will be talking about us.  What steps are your organization taking to engage the millenial generation?

  1. Sue Kern-Fleischer says:

    Another great post, Mike!
    This is a topic that can’t be ignored. I can’t wait to tweet this and send to some key PR practitioners who I hope chime in. Best line of your post: Don’t focus on the generational divide, focus on building the bridge.
    By the way, what is an 8 track tape?
    (Just kidding!)

    • Mike Cassidy says:

      Thanks Sue! It is my hope that we all work real hard to evolve. I think engaging future generations will become a factor of organizational sustainability. I believe an 8 track tape is something that holds Neil Diamond and Jim Croce music.

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