- Thu, April 12 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
The statistics aren’t what you want to hear if you work for an environmental organization. According to the article detailing the study:
[There has been a] decline over the past four decades in young people’s trust in others, their interest in government and the time they said they spent thinking about social problems. Steepest of all was a steady decline in concern about the environment and in taking personal action to save it. Researchers found that, when surveyed decades ago, about a third of young baby boomers said it was important to become personally involved in programs to clean up the environment. In comparison, only about a quarter of young Generation X members — and 21 percent of Millennials — said the same. Meanwhile, 15 percent of Millennials said they had made no effort to help the environment, compared with 8 percent of young Generation X members and 5 percent of young baby boomers.
So how worried should you be?
Don’t take my word for it - listen to Mark Rovner and Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies. I asked them for their opinion since this is their bailiwick as the principals of a world-class research and online fundraising consulting firm that specializes in deeply understanding audiences and developing creative and effective fundraising and engagement campaigns. (Was that promotion? Yes. But they are the real deal.)
Here’s what they say.
Alia: “The decline in trust of organizations comes from a lack of honest, open relationships. Most environmental groups have been having one-way conversations for way too long. They are the hero of the story. They need the money. They will save the day…until they don’t. We learned a long time ago that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth. We still haven’t learned that our constituents do not revolve around us. We need to revolve around them.”
Adds Mark: “The macro doesn’t matter - engaging the passionate core does.”
When you read headlines like these, don’t despair. You aren’t trying to engage with all youth or convert the unconverted. Your job is to focus on the significant number of people who do care, and then show how they can play a real role in change. That means doing more than sounding alarm bells or talking at people. It means building a relationship and putting those supporters at the center of your story, your efforts and your progress. People always care when you take those steps.