top of page

When It Comes To Advocacy, Don’t Ignore Gen Y

Go to virtually any association’s website, and advocacy is listed as a membership benefit. Is it really a benefit?

Which of your members would rank advocacy among their top five reasons for joining your association? For a young professional, their reasons for becoming a member may be different. Some want to develop a network. Others want to learn more about their chosen field and seek out job opportunities. And yet others are interested in advocacy.

Before we assume that democracy is dead, associations need to figure out a way to engage all members across generations in their advocacy efforts to be successful. What you do to promote advocacy to your Baby Boomer members may be significantly different from your Gen X and Gen Y members.

So, how do you involve your younger professionals, Generation Y especially,?

From the ground up

There’s no excuse for excluding your younger members from your grassroots advocacy. Some of the best Hill visits I’ve ever sat in on were with our students and new professionals. They brought a passion to their meetings with congressional staff that some of our veterans can’t match. Get them involved now, and you’ll have an advocate for life.

Don’t assume

Just because your younger members may not know who their Member of Congress is, don’t write them off as disinterested. Truth be known, most people don’t! Like your long-time members, many younger members need to be informed and educated on the critical legislative issues your association is facing.

The global Membership health matrix

Let's take the pulse of how members think of different association practices. You can use the insights to stop declining memberships and engage existing members better.

Meet them where they are

If your younger professionals are all over social media, use this medium to give them the information they need to be advocates for the association. Direct them to the Facebook pages or Twitter handles of Members of Congress who are champions for your issues. Consider having a blog to report on your legislative activities.

Let them be visible

Who’s featured in your government relations communications? Who serves on your GR committees? Do your GR activities reflect the cross-section of your association? If not, your younger professionals may not feel that advocacy is for them. Utilize the potential of great leaders within your Gen Y membership base.

We have assembled many tools to assist your organization.

Be considerate

Your younger members may not have $250 to contribute to your PAC. However, they may be able to do $25 or $50. As you plan PAC events, please keep this group in mind. If you get your younger members into the PAC early, you will develop a regular contributor who will encourage others to do the same.

Don’t forget the students

Young professionals should be engaged in advocacy even before they graduate. Student members are eager to learn and participate. Organize a Hill Day for them, including advocacy training and a networking reception.

Generation Y holds strong values and strong intent. They are willing to be a part of your movement and advocacy so long as they see the benefit to society and themselves. Engage your younger members by engaging with them through their interests, passions, and their causes. Show what you genuinely mean by advocacy as your member benefits.


bottom of page