2018-10-10 / Columns

Jeremy Balkin to help local organizations reach Millennials

Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation

A lot has changed over the past few decades.

Gone are the days of having only a handful of television stations to watch.

Landline phones have given way to smart phones with more computing power than Apollo 11, which landed men on the moon in 1969.

GPS- guided maps have made traveling easy. You don’t miss fumbling with paper maps that would never refold properly, do you?

Here in Southern New Jersey—home of nearly 60,000 Jewish individuals of varying ages and backgrounds—we are fortunate to have many exemplary Jewish organizations, including Federation agencies, day schools, and synagogues that serve the local Jewish population.

With change happening so rapidly and broadly, however, each organization (Jewish or secular) must keep up with each new generation in order to flourish.

Currently, the generation that is making news is the Millennial Generation. According to Pew Research Center, the Millennial Generation now rivals the massive headcount of the Baby Boomers, each totaling over 70 million people. Born between approximately 1981- 1996, Millennials have faced the difficult realities of the post- 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks, the Great Recession, heavy student loan debt, and a long spell of high un- and underemployment levels for their age group.

In terms of their day-to-day lives, this generation has always been “connected,” by using consumer friendly smart devices, social media, and the internet, all of which have proliferated just during their lifetimes.

Further, according to the Pew Research Center, Millennials, compared to prior generations, are less religiously observant, slower to marry, and more likely to live with their parents. Even their thoughts on philanthropy have changed—they are more likely to give than other generations, but they also research charities more frequently, according to Give.org. These factors, among others, should be considered by organizations trying to appeal to this generation.

To that end, how should organizations connect with Millennials?

On Monday, Oct. 29, you can gain some pivotal insights on this question from an award-winning author and engaging speaker, Jeremy K. Balkin.

Recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, nicknamed the “Anti-Wolf of Wall Street,” and serving as the Head of Innovation for HSBC Bank based in New York, Balkin recently published a book, “Millennialization of Everything: How to Win When Millennials Rule the World,” which has been nominated for multiple awards.

This program is being held in conjunction with the Bank of America Festival of Arts, Books and Culture of the Katz JCC. Tickets are $10 per person for Katz JCC members, and $12 per person for guests. The event is sponsored by SEI Investments. To learn more about the program or to purchase tickets, please visit jcfsnj.org/balkin.

Balkin will focus on how organizations can “engage, motivate, and empower” Millennials. As a lead-up to the event, the JCF has some suggestions on how to build philanthropy among this generation:

• Embrace Millennials’ opinions and insights. You may find that they have different viewpoints about how best to reach your organization’s mission that have not been considered.

• Encourage them to connect with their networks about what you do. Social media, as mentioned, is a big part of most Millennials’ lives, and many of them are energized to share the good work that you are doing.

• Keep sustainability in mind. Millennials value the chance to make a positive impact on the future of this community/country/ world.

• Include them meaningfully in talks about their family’s philanthropy.

We hope these tips help as a starting point, and we look forward to seeing you on Oct. 29.

After all, now is the time to start planning for the next few decades. 


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