Millennials and Gen Z make up over half the US population, but only account for 16% of contributions to total charitable giving.

At the same time, almost two-thirds of that demographic say they feel like they aren’t doing enough when it comes to donating and volunteering in their communities.[1] It seems like there’s a chasm between what young professionals want to give back to their communities and what they actually contribute. Chances are nonprofits are feeling the effects of this gap.

At YCore, we work with nonprofits across the Bay Area—over 30 organizations each year—and our nonprofit partners frequently tell us how disconnected they feel from the young professionals in their backyards. Nonprofits know that investing in this untapped network will bring them not only additional donors and volunteers but the potential for long-term champions of their work. Yet very few nonprofits know how to bridge this gap.

Our advice to our partners is this: one of the most effective, sustainable ways to engage young professionals in your work is by starting an Associate Board.

An Associate Board (which might also be called a Junior Board or a Young Professionals Board) is a group of early-career individuals who commit to contributing their time, talent, and/or treasure to a nonprofit organization for a set period of time. In this case, “early career” usually means no more than 5-10 years out of college, but this timeframe may vary depending on your organization and the community you’re hoping to engage. Generally, an Associate Board (AB) will be composed of folks who aren’t typically considered ready to sit on a Board of Directors, either because of their level of expertise, their financial capacity, or their time capacity.

Read the full article about nonprofit Associate Boards by Jess Blackshaw at Blue Avocado.