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Engaging Younger Professionals

Know your audience

Explore the Toolkit

  1. Introduction

  2. Audience

  3. Culture

  4. Connections

  5. Engagement

  6. Value

Many of us have been able to get younger generations to visit a meeting or participate in a project, but getting them to join our clubs has been more difficult. 

And yet, only 5 percent of Rotary’s members are under the age of 40.

How can we get younger professionals to join and stay? We can start by changing our perception of them.  Many are interested in helping others. Yes, a lot of them are busy. But people make time for the things that add value to their lives. 


of millennials are involved in a charity or cause

Source: The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey (PDF)


of millennials have canceled an association  membership because of cost

Source: Abila Member Engagement Study


of millennials and 57% of Gen Xers say becoming a leader is important to them

Source: Harvard Business Review

The pace of younger professionals

Today’s world is one of constant change. So many things arrive immediately — news, texts, status updates. For younger generations, that’s normal life. Shifts in technology and culture have allowed them to enjoy instant gratification and customize their experiences. To do things their way. Today.

At the same time, they crave connections. A network of more experienced professionals. Mentors with insight, with clout. They also crave experiences. They want to do good.

And that’s Rotary. People of action who come together to make positive change.

Know the motivators and drivers 

A whole generation of passionate and talented people in your community is looking for inspiration. Inspire them. Bridge the generational divide. You can start by learning more about younger professionals in your region. Just remember that they aren’t all the same. Do market research in your community and connect with local young professional networks and organizations. Ask them what inspires them and listen attentively to their answers. 

Gen X (1965-1980)

  • Loyal to good leadership
  • Use traditional media (such as TV), but are increasingly active on social media
  • Prioritize spending on families (children, housing)
  • Seek work-life balance
  • Realistic and pragmatic

Millennials (1981-1998)

  • Expect immediate access to product information and peer reviews
  • Grew up with smartphones and internet
  • Seek access to products without the burdens of ownership
  • Dedicated to wellness, including exercise, eating smarter, and smoking less
  • Optimistic and idealistic

How to talk to an inspired audience

Once you understand your audience, find the right strategy to communicate with them effectively. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use technology: It’s part of their daily life. It connects them to the world.

Be transparent: Others market to them, but they don’t always talk honestly with them. 

Connect often: They are hyper-connected and want to know what their peers are doing and where, around the clock.

Feature compelling videos: They embrace a shared visual language that’s engaging and easy to reach.

Create real, enduring change: They want to empower communities with sustainable solutions, not quick fixes.