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Millennials- Are They the Next ‘Great Generation’?

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Published on October 29, 2015

A perspective shared by Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation Storyteller Ashley A. Cooper

Generation Y, or millennials as they are often referred to, are aging into adulthood and the whole world seems to be fascinated by their potential. Numerous studies digging into the hearts, minds and futures of these young people are being published every day. It’s time to get to know them.

The term millennial is loosely defined as people between the ages of 18 and 35. They are racially diverse and open-minded, and deign to identify with any prescribed political or religious group before their own independent beliefs.  They are also extremely altruistic and community-minded, with community reaching far beyond geographic borders thanks to their global networks and collaborative nature. This generation wants us all to work together so that we can all evolve together, and are adaptable in a way that can only be formed through unlucky pairings akin to economic downturn and massive debt, and unrealistic expectations with unprecedented unemployment.

Millennial Donors

Millennials want to see change now. Unlike previous generations, they aren’t patient enough to care for legacy.  They’re passionate, bold and dissatisfied by the world’s unjust realities.  They get behind causes they truly care about not only with dollars, but with skills, time and sweat.  To engage them, nonprofits must craft a meaningful brand, invest in social media, engage a good storyteller and create opportunities for them to get their hands dirty and their souls gratified.

Young Professionals & Volunteers

Young people don’t want to compartmentalize their jobs from their passions, and forget traditional schedules.  Educated young professionals want flexibility to travel, work remotely and pursue side-careers.  They expect their jobs and lives to have inherent value, community-impact and opportunities to grow.

Millennials work and volunteer for nonprofits with strong mission statements, fearless vision and measurable, immediate impact.  They are attracted to organizations that are open to nontraditional roles, offer leadership and development training, and are socially and environmentally conscious, in best practices as well as philanthropic exchanges.

As your organization welcomes young changemakers, be open to evolving and moving quickly.  Millennials have a myriad of skills and talents, and won’t be satisfied to draw upon one set of experiences for one position.  They want to engage and collaborate with teams, and the traditional “hero” leader doesn’t suit them- they just want to get the job done.  Blame that on a generation of trophies for everyone.

Are you a millennial interested in shaping the future of Tahoe-Truckee?  Visit to view over 80 volunteer positions, or to sign up to receive the Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide and donate to the nonprofit that speaks to your philanthropic interests.

This article was first published in Sierra Sun on our Give Back Tahoe page.  TTCF curates this weekly page to promote and elevate our local nonprofit community.