Today, corporations across Silicon Valley are taking steps to innovate for good. As three of the biggest companies in the world, Apple, Google and Microsoft, have matched over $25 million worth of employee donations, volunteered nearly 80,000 hours of service, and aided over 86,000 organizations with technology donations. Taking social responsibility to a new level, Tesla, opened access to its patents, with the goal of fostering change and innovation. Now, fifteen years into the 21st century, millennials are at the nexus of a new direction in social responsibility.
This past April, our friends at Churchill Club hosted Josh Becker of Full Circle Fund, Sid Espinosa of Microsoft, Randy Haykin of The Gratitude Network, and Nancy Heinen, former SVP and General Counsel at Apple, to discuss why and how they shifted their careers to socially conscious ones. The forum began with a poignant question from Jen Ratay, “Is where you spend your time and talents aligned with your core personal values, or what matters most to you at the end of the day?”
As a millennial from Airfoil, accustomed to the standard, negative millennial stereotypes, it was refreshing to hear that this panel is excited and impressed by the social activism and values they see millennials bringing to their employers and the community. As a generation, we have developed a strong stake in social responsibility, amplifying our causes through technology.
From crowdfunding to trending hashtags, millennials have organically fostered social consciousness at an individual level. In fact, according to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey, sixty-one percent of 18- 26 year olds polled said they would prefer to work for a company that offers volunteer opportunities. According to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report by consultant Achieve, eighty-seven percent of millennials–those aged 20 to 35–gave a financial gift to nonprofits last year. In a study by Net Impact, fifty-three percent of millennial workers claimed they want a job where they “can make an impact” and seventy-two percent of job-searching students agreed
So how do you align your core personal values with how you spend your time? Here are four steps to help you achieve that.
1. Finding the Time
Without prioritization, nothing will get done. If you’re like me, unless something is on the calendar well in advance, it will never happen. Make your community involvement a priority by taking 15 minutes out of your lunch break to take these quick steps. You’ll be well on your way to jump in to the next local blood drive or Boys and Girls Club soccer tournament.
2. Discover Your Passions
Passionate about technology in business? There’s a nonprofit for that. Or perhaps humane societies are of more interest to you. There’s a nonprofit for that. Think about what makes you so excited that you can’t help but get involved. As Steve Jobs said, “If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out.”
3. Meet Your Match
Have you been wanting to get involved, but don’t know of a nonprofit in your area relevant to your passions? For Goodness Shake is an app that matches users with local and national causes based on personal interests and proximity. Available for free in both Apple and Google Play app stores, For Goodness Shake pulls from a pool of more than 150,000 nonprofits to match users with worthy causes. From there users can choose to give a financial donation or volunteer time by signing up through the app.
Want to be a part of the next generation of philanthropists? The Giving Circle Fund leverages the power of collective giving by operating a network of giving circles that allow groups of people to pool their donations and increase their impact. The organization works to empower users to donate at least one percent of their income to address critical issues.
Tweet to donate? tinyGive empowers individuals to donate to nonprofits and support causes via Twitter through their affiliated organizations.
Crowdfunding campaigns for charity. Fundly allows non-profits, charities, schools, churches, and many other causes to raise money online from friends, family, colleagues, and donors through email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and social media networks.
People Acting in Community Together (PACT) educates low-income residents in Silicon Valley to use the Internet and online tools to address community challenges; such as public safety or elderly health care services.
Hands on Tech connects technology experts with nonprofit businesses to help them use technology to encourage collaboration, cut costs, and improve their work to benefit the community. The organization was developed with Hands on Network, AmeriCorps VISTA and Google.
For a more intimate understanding of poverty, consider Step Up Silicon Valley Poverty Simulation’s Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS). CAPS is a unique tool to educate everyone, from policy makers to local community leaders, about the day-to-day realities of those living in poverty in Santa Clara County. Through role-playing, participants will play a member of a low-income family, struggling to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities while navigating through community resources.
4. Involve Others
Bring family and friends along for added support. Not only will this mean more hands to help, but getting others involved can spur change within a wider group of people. Designate a work day for you and your colleagues to take time out of your schedules for social responsibility in your area. This could mean cleaning up a park for a few hours or volunteering to pass out water at a 5K run/walk benefitting a local charity.