Also called Generation Y, these are the children of Generation X and the grandchildren of the Baby Boomers, presently in their 20s.

DoSomething Uses Trademark Humor to Say Sorry for Text-Message Error, Nicole Wallace, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2015

Wise words for dealing with social media mistakes and also with young people. Also see the DoSomething blog post at

Millennials and Volunteering: Bridging the Generation Gap, Gary Bagley, New York Cares blog, 2015
Replace Current Volunteers or Redirect New Ones?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2015
The Volunteer Generation Gap, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2000

Results of the Abila Donor Engagement Study: "we decided to dig even deeper into donor behavior, to go beyond just engagement, and see what drives donor loyalty, what types of content donors really like to consume, what actions by an organization annoy donors, what role events and volunteering play, and how donors really feel when it comes to an organization spending money on overhead." Lots about Gen X and the connection of volunteering to giving money. 

, 2016, pp. 22
Over a dozen practical, free manuals to support (international) inclusion projects for socially excluded young people, from SALTO-YOUTH (Support, Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities within the European YOUTH programme). , 2010
Allison Fine for the Case Foundation. Social Citizens BETA addresses the unique characteristics of Millennials, who have grown up in a digital era, and "are equipped with innovative tools and ideas for bringing about change. This is a paper intended to start a "larger conversation with these 'social citizens, to share new ideas and "challenge perceptions about their approaches to being engaged." , 2013, pp. 65
By American University's Center for Social Media about how an online youth civic culture, largely unnoticed by the general public, has taken root on the Internet and is fostering Generation Y's participation in U.S. politics and community affairs. , 2004, pp. 155
by Kathryn Montgomery, Barbara Gottlieb-Robles, and Gary O. Larson, a report from American University's Center for Social Media about how an online youth civic culture, largely unnoticed by the general public, has taken root on the Internet and is fostering Generation Y's participation in U.S. politics and community affairs , 2004, pp. 158

Research and information on community participation by youth from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Free fact sheets, tools for practice, and more.

SALTO Training Toolbox

Large number of group training exercises on all aspects of diversity and youth action from Support, Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities within the European YOUTH programme.

Social Citizens Blog

Next iteration of what had been the Case Foundation's "Social Citizen" project on how Millennials will change the world. Now run on Reddit by the Collaborative Fund (as of 2013).

Survey Measures of Youth Civic Engagement

CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) and their colleagues have developed and tested various measures of young adults’ “civic engagement” (including their political participation; their community service and local civic work; and their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values). These measures are available for anyone to use. 

Archived Infocast from the AICPA Young CPA Network - Original run date, Jan. 23, 2013 - 90 minutes

Three young CPAs share their experiences in volunteerism that has led to personal development of skills transferable to many aspects of their lives, including the workplace. 



De-mystifying the Concept of Social Entrepreneurship
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

Words, as we all know, can clarify or complicate. If you've been confused about the way phrases such as "social enterprise" or "social entrepreneurship" are being used, here's a quick primer on terminology.

Corporate Social Responsibility (which has been in use for a long time), is applied when a business considers its "bottom line" to be more than financial profit and demonstrates tangible concern for the environment, good working conditions for its employees, humane treatment of animals, and/or other legal and ethical ways to be a "good corporate citizen." Employee volunteer programs fall into this category, as does financial philanthropy.

Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurship are newer terms used to describe several different things:

  1. A company that is for-profit, but directs its business profits towards meeting social needs. Can include:
    • Giving all or a percentage of profits to charity.
    • Hiring or training people in need to be its labor force.
    • Locating in places selected to stimulate economic development.
    • Fair trade practices, without exploiting underdeveloped artisans or tradespeople.
    • Sometimes recruit volunteers to help staff retail shops to increase ultimate revenues from sales that can then be directed to charitable work.
  2. A not-for-profit organization that runs a business enterprise in order to fund its work (cash income) or meet its mission (e.g., retraining the unemployed).
  3. A business or a nonprofit founded specifically to address a social need, in an effort to solve a community problem or demonstrate alternate ways of offering services - almost always employing the ethical principles of good corporate social responsibility. Examples:
    • Renewable energy alternatives.
    • Urban car- or bicycle-share projects.
    • Recycling of used computers to give to the poor.

Which brings us to the "entrepreneurship model" of volunteering. First, this includes anyone who founds or runs any of the above types of enterprises. Such "social entrepreneurs" are very often volunteers - at least in the beginning. There's nothing new about this, since all social innovation begins with activists willing to work hard to establish something they believe in. But now it has a name.

The second - and perhaps more interesting - use of the term social entrepreneur refers to volunteers who want to innovate or experiment with new ways of addressing needs. Specifically, these people are looking for ways

  • To be creative in approaching community or client needs - not to "fill a slot" of a job-like volunteer position description.
  • To innovate - not to perpetuate traditional, possibly failed, ways of giving services.
  • To be able to apply their skills, talents, and time to changing/improving the world, not just "helping" an organization.

While this approach to volunteer work design has recently been extolled as the best way to recruit both Baby Boomers and Millennials/Generation Y (who have quite a bit in common despite the age gap), it really is a great way to get out of the trap of considering volunteers as staff "assistants." It presupposes that someone from the "outside" might bring a fresh perspective to an organization's challenges and that volunteers who participate in creating the projects they tackle will develop longer and deeper engagement with the cause.