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Membership News
Membership Moment: Understanding millennials

By Faith Quinlan, CT State Grange Membership Director

  JANUARY 5, 2019 --

We value new members of all ages.  We should not ignore the potential members over 50 as well as continuing to look for members in their 20’s and everything in between.  My articles focus on the emerging generation because I am looking at a very different approach to a very different group of people.  They are human and have hopes and needs just as we all do, but reaching them to keep our organization alive means understanding their specific habits and needs so they can join us to continue our worthy and charitable mission.

Please check out the millenniel infographic to see some of the habits they have that may be helpful to consider when considering how to attract them.  With a 53% women to 47% men split most get their news from television and the internet. Newspapers are primarily read online and because they pay for satellite or have free resources like Spotify and Pandora for their music they are not often consuming information from the radio.  Watching pay TV (Hulu, Netflix, etc..) and watching online videos YouTube, etc..) consume a lot of their daily time.

This information means we already know where some resources we can share with tech savy/ tech user candidates so they can learn more about who we are and what we do. resource we can share at events and when discussing the Grange with online users.  Helping to share our mission and benefits or them to learn more about our organization could be very helpful to get who we are and our message out to everyone.  

Why do they like to use online sources the most?  This is a heavily researh and debated topic but in my personal experience a cell phone is a pocket computer that gives you the convenience of viewing from almost any location.   Great for multitasking and of course the immediate access. to information it is helpful for school and work.    

To the benefit of the Grange on social media brands are embraced more readily.  We have a brand and can use appropriate marketing online to attract “our” people.  Peop;e wth similar interests and needs.  The millenials also embrace technology because with your cell phone you can pay and collect money direct to and from your bank account, communicate with friends and businesses in real time, they write read reviews to make purchase decisions or reviews of events, companies and even to research employment.

The interest in working for and with not-for-profits along with a passion for hands on  is volunteer work are what gives me hope we can all grow together.  They, like many of us, have a passion for communities, children, elderly, animals and the environment.  

How can we attract new members using this common ground?  I believe the best approach is to take a charitable program you are already doing at your Grange, one that gives back to a certain area or group of people, then make it a bigger event by inviting more people to participate.  

Put together an advertising plan to invite the community to help you reach a goal.  People will be drawn to participate in an event that is asking for something more than a financial donation.  These potential members can give like their time or something they can donate easily like things from their closet or garage.  While the new helpers are coming in it is a chance to talk more about your program and how it helps the recipients and also to discuss the next event where you may need donations or help.  

Gaining new members, people who may be stretched with commitments, its best to give them an invite, tell them how they might be able to help and give them the details.  As they visit more frequently you can recommend they join.  They are already showing commitment.  

How do you get the message out that there is an event you need help with using social media at least in part?  You can post it on Facebook and ask members and friends to share.  Posting on Facebook is not enough alone, the algorythms make it tough for many following your grange facebook to be seen,  So you should also share with friends and family on pages and in messages.  When possible tag any other organizations who may be participating with your Grange.  

Let me sum this up with an example.  Busytown Grange collects donations for the local animal shelter every year.  They collect food, blankets and towels, cat treats and toys, litter and gift cards to pet supply stores.  Each year it is a success because it comes from Grange members and friends and family.  Busytown chooses a day to collect donations, sort them and deliver them to the animals and this year they are advertising the event and welcoming all to donate and volunteer with collection and delivery. 

The Grange secretary posts the date and animal shelter needs on the Facebook page for the Grange and everyone with a Facebook account agrees to share the message.  They post it publically on their personal page and some send it privately.  They also send it via email to people they may know.  For the members who are more active online they may post this info on the garage sale or community pages when posts like this are accepted.  This would be done about a month before the event and then done again 2 weeks before and again within days of the event.  

Busytown Grange sets up for the event as usual but this year there are many new faces.  Grangers ask people how they hear about the event and thank them for the donations.  New participants can be given an information brochure about the grange and welcomed to follow on whichever social media outlets are active for their specific Grange.  If possible it is always good to mention the next event where volunteers or donations may be helpful.

Once everyting is collected and totalled and brought to the animals it is just as important to brag, erm, share the success just as diligently online as you were when you asked for help.  People who feel included and useful like to continue to participate in the group that gives them a nice warm welcome and hank you.  Creating new Grangers can be as simple as that.  Let us remember that even the poorest financially has something to guve and wants to contribute to making the world a better place for all.  If they can not give wit their money, they should know how wealthy they are to give us their time.

I am always willing to brainstorm with you about events and how to make them more successful and get new participants and potential members.

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