by Angel McNeil, Staff Writer
As I began to think about what I wanted to share I came across an article that gave ways for millennials to assert themselves. I opened the post expecting to see some exciting tips and ideas that could be passed on. However, I was slightly disappointed that the post was more about the “what” and not the “how”. I think it is safe to say that we can list an infinite amount of different causes that deserve our time. Yet we don’t always get the answer to the question of how one might get started on making an impact.
Conversations on how millennials can make an impact are being had – even as you read this. For example, Friends of Ebonie’s first summit, Changing the Face of Philanthropy brought together millennials who are working to bring change to causes that are near and dear. You may be asking yourself, well how can I get started? There are a millions ways to get started. Here are my top three tips that helped me to narrow down how I could make an impact as a millennial.
1. Really figure out where you fit in
This sounds simple but in reality it can be often hard to figure out one or two causes or issues where you can give your time and talents. I focus most of my giving towards education and youth because those are causes that make my face to light up. I can spend hours upon hours focusing on those issues without getting tired. There is no right or wrong way to figure this out. Maybe you take the time to volunteer or support a few organizations until you find the right fit. Or maybe you take out a pen and paper and write out what you look for in an organization. Or you just wait for it to click where you should focus your time. The most important part is that you take the time to decide where you want to focus.
2. Make the time for it
As millennials, one common theme is a fully packed calendar. Between our 9 to 5 jobs, social obligations, and everything in between, it can seem that we are often in need of a personal assistant – or a clone. When thinking of wanting to give back we struggle with how to fit it into your schedule. I currently focus my philanthropic efforts on two organizations with long term commitments. Whether you choose to go my route with two organizations or start by completing one time projects or even setting up monthly contributions to your cause of choice; you are the only one who can control how much time you have to give. Really reflect on what you can do before you commit to anything.
3. When all else fails, do it yourself
I get amazed at the amount of my friends who started their own organizations or sat on boards for well-established non-profits before they were 30. There are times when you don’t have to wait around to join somebody else’s team to make an impact. If you have found something that you really want to change and an organization doesn’t exist and you have the time start one yourself. There are free workshops and people around you who can help you get started with the process.
The moral of the story is the fact that millennials have all the power and more to mobilize and make it happen. Generations before us and after us have their eyes set on how we will innovatively tackle some of this world’s greatest challenges. As a fellow millennial I look forward to seeing and supporting what this generation will do.
What are some ways you think millennials can assert themselves in this world?