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3 Must-Dos to Attract Millennial Talent

Jenny Love
Published:  12/20/2019



Group of Millennials

The world of healthcare philanthropy is on the verge of an employee sea change. Millennials are already the largest percentage of the workforce of any generation, and that number is growing every year. Within philanthropy, the under-40 crowd is already making its mark. AHP’s 40 under 40 award winners alone have already raised close to $900 million in their careers.

Millennials want different things out of their careers than their predecessors, and employers inside and outside of philanthropy are looking for ways to make their jobs attractive to younger employees and then keep them engaged when they get there. Retaining Millennial talent is particularly important for gift officers, since it takes three to five years for MGOs to build a network, and the typical Millennial only stays in a single job for 18 months. 

AHP will be conducting an in-depth study into best practices for recruiting and retaining young employees in the coming year. In the meantime, here are a few of the biggest themes and some resources to get you started creating an environment where Millennials will flourish—and your fundraising revenue will too.

Illuminate Their Way Forward

Career pathing has always been important, but it’s particularly critical for younger people who do not expect a pension or a gold watch after 30 years of service. Development plans for Millennials should show both long-term potential and short-term growth opportunities, broken down into increments as short as six months. The clearer the path, the less likely your staff will be attracted to new jobs that come their way.

Creating career paths can be challenging in small organizations or organizations with flat organizational structures. Even a large foundation is unlikely to be able to offer a new position for even the most zealous Millennial every six months. In these cases, you may be able to engage restless staff with sideways moves, such as rotations or special projects, where they can broaden their skills

Alternatively, you can position yourself as a stepping stone for staff’s next move elsewhere. Yes, that means you are expending resources to support your staff to outgrow your organization, but that is better than neglecting them to make them stay. And if you treat them well now they may come back in the future when you have a more senior role available.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

This saying is true in general, but in the case of the workplace, it’s important to focus on the quality of an employee’s output and not on the specifics of where or when they get their job done. Flexible start and end times and remote work are quickly becoming the expectation for a generation accustomed to 24-7 access to information and conducting their lives on the go.

It can be hard for those of us who remember when work could only get done in an office to adjust to the more freewheeling remote work style, but Millennials’ focus on work-life balance might just be better for all of us, regardless of age. And there are studies that show that ditching the 9 to 5 grind is good for productivity too.

Don’t Overblow the Stereotypes

Like any stereotype situation, it’s dangerous to generalize the characteristics of an entire generation too much, especially since many of the stereotypes of Millennials don’t hold up well under scrutiny. At the end of the day, whether we are Boomers or Gen X or Millennials, we are all humans who want to have interesting work to do and to be appreciated for it.


NEWS  /10/13/16
Why your employees are leaving and how to get them back
NEWS  /06/04/19
By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. With the stakes that high, it’s important to be wary of all the ways you can lose a millennial in your organization.
NEWS  /10/24/18
Within the realm of fundraising, a dichotomy exists regarding retention. Although it seems contradictory, retention IS about money, but it is also NOT about money.

Meet The Author

Jenny Love
Chief Content and Marketing Officer
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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