Engaging with Millennials: Here’s SVP Dallas’ Approach



On April 27, Social Venture Partners Dallas hosted business leaders, partners, and community collaborators at our Social Innovation Luncheon to hear Kari Saratovsky and Jon Mertz present cross-generational approaches to engaging millennials.

Kari and Jon have both generated prolific research and inspired solutions to address the organizational challenges of retaining and activating millennial talent. It’s important to note, however, that their solutions aren’t just for corporations. They can impact every sector.

At SVP Dallas, we recognize that “Doing Good Better” requires cross-generational and cross-sector collaboration. We are developing our “Emerging Philanthropists” leadership program to meet the needs of millennials, employers, social entrepreneurs, and corporate institutions alike.

Our goal? To bring leaders of all ages together to increase the capacity and sustainability of our community. How? A multi-faceted engagement.

  1. Accessible Philanthropy

For the past 16 years, SVP Dallas has made philanthropy accessible to experienced entrepreneurs and professionals by supporting vetted non-profits who have proven ready to scale. Now, we are developing an “Emerging Philanthropists” program to make philanthropy accessible, not only to experienced professionals but also to younger generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The curriculum involves collaborative training on how non-profits operate, how to best build the capacity of non-profits, and how to work for non-profits as a board member or professional consultant. The program will not only set young professionals up with the knowledge they need, but also provide them with access to a community invested in collaborating to improve Dallas.

Our network is established and collaborative. SVP Dallas partners invest their time and resources together to make the impact greater than they could alone and they build meaningful professional relationships with one another along the way.

Now we’re making that network accessible to philanthropists who are looking to build their own expertise in “Doing Good Better.”

  1. Co-Creating

Kari Saratovsky discussed co-creation in her talk as a means of ensuring millennial engagement. In its most simple form, it means involving millennials in the decision-making process.

Similar to the reverse-mentoring Tony Fleo referenced in his last column, co-creating is a method of meeting and designing a program that acknowledges the value-add of the millennial perspective and acknowledges the need to understand their culture to engage their community. The process of co-creating breaks boundaries that keep Millennials at the kids table and asks them to step up and help make the process more fruitful.

SVP Dallas has employed co-creating in the development of our new program and we have a small group of not only experienced strategists and leaders, but also young, successful millennial consultants, building out the curriculum and processes. Allowing all parties to provide input and, more significantly, participate in the process, we are crafting a program that will be valuable to millennials and mentors alike.

  1. Professional Volunteerism

Currently, we have 10 of our best partners under thirty engaged in professional volunteerism, which takes volunteering further by allowing participants to give with the skills they spend every workday building. The practices of professional volunteerism help participants realize the depth of their ability to contribute to an organization for the greater good and in turn, develop passion and vision for their own workplace.

Monthly, the group meets to develop a rapidly growing, local nonprofit called Trigger’s Toys. Brian Townsend, founder of Trigger’s Toys, collaborates directly with our team of millennial professionals from a diversity of industries including, wealth management, data consulting, finance security, accounting, and marketing. In meetings led by Tony Fleo, CEO of SVP Dallas, they are working to craft a long-term business plan and marketing strategy for the nonprofit.

Trigger’s Toys currently supports local Children’s healthcare facilities and provides for families and children suffering from serious illness and injury. After witnessing the powerful role companionship and support play in the recovery process, Brian established Trigger’s Toys. The organization strives to not only provide materials but also supply an environment of companionship and joy to further facilitate healing.

SVP Dallas Millennials are using their professional skills to help Trigger’s Toys “Do Good Better” and in the process, they are developing their leadership skills and vocation.

  1. Leadership Development

Awareness of the community and industry impact developed through SVP Dallas’ model of accessible philanthropy, co-creating, and professional volunteerism provides individuals with the insight they need to contribute higher value to any organization.

The program empowers individuals by engaging them in the value of their work and exposing them to the impact their skills can have in the workplace and greater community. The positive impact of this exposure on individuals and their work-groups results in more engaged, active leaders who are eager to contribute.

We invite all professionals eager to learn how to be better leaders and philanthropists to join us in making Dallas a better place to work, live, and engage.

Follow Social Venture Partners on Twitter @SVPDallas. 

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