Echo-boomers, Millenials, the dot.com generation, whatever you choose to call Generation Y (those born between 1980-2000); there’s no getting away from the fact that we are a key generation with our own habits and characteristics (and yes, I am including myself here!). Having grown up during a technology and culture rich period there are certain expectations that we have of the world.
Recently we presented at the MRS Charity and Third Sector Research Conference our research into 20-30 year olds who sit firmly within Generation Y, what shapes and makes us as a generation and how this can offer insight into our charitableness (see our paper here).
We’ve grown up in a world where customisation and personalisation is not just something that occurs online (a trend started courtesy of The Sims) but increasingly we are able to customise and personalise anything we want. From mobile phone cases to skins for our laptops to trainers there really isn’t anything that we can’t and won’t personalise. With 3D printing a reality soon we will be able to personalise our items even further and have them available quicker than ordering via your chosen online shop!
We can and do move from brand to brand based on what we are being offered. Mobile phone brands in particular are a good example of our disloyalty to brands as we switch mobile phone brand almost every time we change contract.
So what does this mean for charities? Well firstly don’t be a slave to the brand. We want to be able to innovate and create our own designs for things. We realise the brand is important but be flexible in allowing us to create something that we like and feel would appeal to other people our age.
Secondly, we want information from a charity to be tailored to us. If we’ve participated in a campaign, send us information relating to our involvement; if we’ve done a sponsored run, send us some information about other similar upcoming events; if we text to donate then send us a reply.
Finally, don’t forget that we are a fast-moving generation. Whereas winning loyalty used to be enough, switching allegiance is a mere click away so we expect any charity or organisation to maintain our interest! In other words, keep up or risk losing our engagement at best and support at worst.