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Effective Youth Engagement in Generation Y: Lessons from the Field

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Despite all the theory and research about Generation Y — those individuals typically born between 1977 and 1997 — there still appears to be a considerable amount of confusion as to how volunteer managers can effectively engage this generation. Could this confusion stem from not clearly understanding the key factors that shape the lives and thinking of Gen Y? Author Catherine Williams thinks so. In this feature article, Williams reviews how effective engagement with today’s young adults involves moving beyond the hype associated with this generation and developing a deeper understanding of what shapes the lives of our younger generations. By sharing the stories of a few Gen Y individuals (also called Millennials), Williams presents some important lessons about why young people are not engaging in traditional volunteer roles. She also looks at the implications for volunteer management practices, and explores some of the changes that volunteer managers may need to consider in order to make volunteering relevant to this generation.