Millennials care. The World Economic Forum reports they have several world concerns. High on their list: Lack of economic opportunity and employment and poverty, which happen to be two of the many precursors to homelessness. As we seek solutions to end homelessness, how can we harness the power of millennials to effect change?
See how they see. First, it’s been found that millennials view their impact on society as “holistic.” They see beyond where they donate or volunteer. Rather they look to the partners and organizations that are in line with their beliefs. The Washington Post reports, “If they care about an issue, they’re going to spend their time with the companies, government leaders, nonprofits, and movement leaders that are making a difference.” The writer goes on to say that millennials will express themselves in the voting booth and in the checkout line.
Knowing this, we who work to end homelessness might ask ourselves: Who are we partnering with? Where are we aligning ourselves? Millennials are looking.
Hear their voice. Millennials have also been called “Generation Quiet” because they don’t protest on the streets or host boycotts. But their effect can be quite loud. Millennials grew up with online resources and social media. They not only tweet their views, they also express their opinions through where they shop, how they invest, and what and who they choose to follow, like, and share.
This generation speaks. As people trying to effect change, we must ask: Are we listening to what they want? And do they like what we, ourselves, are saying?
Give them roles. Despite their power, some studies show millennials are not acting as much as they are “talking.” They say only one-third of millennials “actually do something about the issues they’re more concerned about.” Still, the source asserts that young people do want to do more, but just don’t know how. It’s fair to believe that millennials – like people of all ages – often need to be shown a path to activism.
Organizations committed to ending homelessness again can consider this. Are we inviting millennials to take action? Are we defining a strategy for young people to get involved? Are we giving them a role to play?
Millennials concerned about homelessness can do several things to make a difference: Volunteer, spread the word on social media, donate to campaigns, and vote.
Millennials will continue to be a powerful voice, and their activism will be essential as older generations bow out, and even younger people get older. Whether the issue is homelessness, unemployment, poverty, or other world concern, we must give young people opportunities to speak out, find solutions, and create a positive impact for us all.
Steve Pomeroy is the founder of Big Change Advisors, a Los Angeles M&A advisory firm of business advisors and capital sourcing advisors for startups and middle-market companies. Since 1992, Steve has completed over 38 transactions including M&A, Capital Sourcing, and Public Offerings representing over $800 million in total transaction value. Through Big Change Advisors, Steve donates a percentage of all fees – or invites clients to donate a portion of Big Change Advisors fees – to help serve the homeless through the Los Angeles Mission. To request a free consultant, contact Steve here.