ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 11:12am
posted by
Brittany Fasnacht,
Office Assistant
ASU Lodestar Center

Today's youth generation has been stereotyped as the "me" generation — as obsessed with technology, social media, and constantly checking Facebook news feeds. However, technological advancement and social media are the key factors of this generation when it comes to giving back. Nonprofit organizations all over the world have become accustomed to the social media franchise: People are now able to donate online, view volunteer opportunities on the web, follow charity updates, and much more. Having access to this information through social media is one very large reason I believe that today's youth are becoming more involved with giving back to their communities.

Now, technology and social media aren't going to be the only things that help keep the younger generation involved with volunteering and donating to nonprofit organizations. This is where strong family ties can make a big impact. Instead of spending your "family time" watching television, give volunteering a shot! It's a fantastic way to pass the volunteering torch on to the next generation. While growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family volunteering and giving back to various organizations such as the Special Olympics and St. Mary's Food Bank, and it's had a significant impact on my life, even inspiring me to join the American Humanics program.

Through volunteering I have learned that so many people in my community need various kinds of help and assistance. I've also come to realize that even seemingly small actions can make a huge impact, especially when I get my whole family involved. I have learned not to take things for granted and to be truly thankful for the things that I have, including the "family" I have in the nonprofit community. Volunteering has truly enriched my life, and it makes me feel good knowing that I can help in some way. I know that when I have kids I will introduce them to volunteering and helping the community as well. It's essential that we not only focus on how we can make a difference, but on how we can help our loved ones make a big impact, too. After all, if today's youth can keep the volunteering torch lit, positive change will spread like wildfire.

To see how Roots, an organization in Tel Aviv, is encouraging families to volunteer (and continue to volunteer!), check out this video.


Great post, Brittany! I think you're right that volunteering as a family is not only a great way to bond, but also to get kids into volunteering. Since your post talks about the y generation, it reminded me of a presentation I heard recently about just how potentially powerful the y generation could be. It's the wealthiest, most educated, and most connected generation ever. The y generation spends over 200 billion a year! It's true that we are certainly a "me" generation considering that we mostly spend it on food, entertainment, and clothing. What if we took just a fraction of that and instead donated it? If the y generation gave just 1% of that (still spending 99% on all those other things) that would still be 2 BILLION dollars! How do we get kids more interested in charitable giving?

Great post, Brittany. It's so true that volunteering makes an impact on the community at so many levels. Not only by the work you're doing when you volunteer, but also by the example you set for those who see you doing so, including children. It's also a great feeling for young and old to feel that you have the ability to make a huge difference in someone's life.

I definitely agree about the Facebook obsession we all seem to have these days, but I also agree that we should be using social media for more meaningful purposes, instead of checking if the guy in your Bio class is single. I like that the nonprofit organization I volunteer with (Crisis Nursery) is on Facebook because it allows me to see the new things going on in the organization and also spreads awareness of the organization/cause to those who are unacquainted. As a mom, I hope to teach my daughter about the importance of giving back to the community and take her to volunteer with me (when she is old enough) to different organizations. As you mentioned in the post, I hope to instill values (help others, not taking things for granted, open their views/minds) in her.

I really believe that those critical of social media and fearful of some dreadful consequence upon the young are those who really don't understand it. The reason people are obsess over facebook and twitter are their incredible usefulness. Of course sometimes we have less to talk about with our local friends but now we communicate with so many more people, are more aware of society, of culture and of each other. It seems unbelievable to think of a time before fb or twitter, much like it did before mobile phones. It's just a shame something which feels so organic is in fact utterly corporate.

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