Source: eJewish Philanthropy
Taglit-Birthright has been running for 17 years now, and has sent more than half a million young adults on a free trip to Israel. Those participants have returned to the U.S. with a fire in their bellies, talking about the trip that ‘changed their lives’…and yet, 17 years later, the Jewish community is still struggling to provide ‘follow-up’ programs that keep the fire burning. Many organizations are doing incredible work post-Birthright, but it’s safe to say the Jewish community has not been inundated with 500,000 enthusiastic college graduated. What don’t we get? Why can’t we create sustainable engagement using the momentum of a life-changing trip?
Maybe, just maybe, we don’t know these Millenials the way we think we do.
The good news is that we are starting to get it. A look at some of the fastest-growing projects shows a new approach: we need to stop asking ‘how can we make Millennials want what we want?’ and start asking ‘what do they want for themselves?’
It is no different in college. TAMID Group, where I am privileged to work, puts programming control in the hands of the students. Or more accurately, we never wrested it from their control, since students started the organization in 2008. Their goal was creating sustainable connections to Israel among the next generation of business leaders, and they did it by creating programming that gives students top-level business training as they prepare to launch their own careers. Eight years later we are on 34 campuses, engaging 1700 students and preparing for the 30 more campuses in our pipeline. We have no political agenda and no religious affiliation – a sizeable percentage of our students are not Jewish – and we are forging new and stronger connections to Israel across the country.
Despite popular culture’s focus on Millennials, we are still a People that values tradition and respects legacy. But amidst all of the talk about senior leadership and their impending wave of retirement, we must also spend time thinking about how the Millennial generation – our future community leaders – will engage with us.
Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy.