Purpose, Being Human, and It’s Not All About Millenials- MCON13 Recap

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to share this recap from the founder of MCON13, “a day of conversation and thought-provoking ideas shared by over 15 nonprofit, business and technology leaders that have successfully harnessed the Millennial generation for good.”

By Derrick Feldmann

“Why do you like charities?”  My dad asked me this question last week.

My comment back took him by surprise.

“Why do you care about golf?  I love helping a cause – or as you say ‘charity’ – be ready to involve anyone that wants to help.  What if you wanted to play golf and you drove to the local golf course and when you went to the counter they said they couldn’t help you because they weren’t ready?  Or they said we only care about the golfers that play every day, spend the most money on the course, and your interest is nice but there are others that are more important?”

He looked at me and said, “I get it, but you know sometimes things are the way they are for a reason.”

“Dad, there are so many problems and issues and they won’t be solved by doing business as usual.” 


This is why we created MCON as part of the Millennial Impact Initiative.  MCON is a cross sector conference to discuss why and how organizations can connect, involve, and attract Millennials – the generation that represents individuals in their twenties and early thirties.  With more than 15 speakers from foundations, technology companies, social media companies and more, the conference provides thought leadership on how to address the engagement preferences and cultural changes that Millennials and other generations are demanding.  The following is a summary of the major themes from this year’s MCON.

For Purpose

Actress Sophia Bush called on nonprofits to stop the ‘non’ nonsense and think more like ‘for purpose’ businesses. An organization’s culture today should be about filling a purpose and void in the community.  This purpose brings people together.  Makes constituents, supporters, and activists cry with joy at the sight of helping someone you don’t know but their challenges touch you personally.

Is It Really About Millennials?

Ido Leffler talked about changing business and nonprofit operations to engage a new supporter and activist.  Millennial engagement is about Millennials but more about how an organization is going to operate, attract interest in the future, and build a following through transparent and open relationships with stakeholders.

“Organizations, whether nonprofit, government, or corporate need to take notice of the Millennial generation,” explained Allyson Burns, SVP of Communications & Marketing at the Case Foundation. “This group is already, and will continue to fundamentally change how we as a society address social issues. I believe they are ‘the next greatest generation’ because they embody a fearless attitude and frame of mind from which we can all learn. At the Case Foundation we embrace this generational approach as we strive to increase engagement with this fearless generation of change makers in order to inspire the inactive, and to influence the institutions where Millennials live, work, and play.”

Finding Meaning

Millennials are trying to find meaning in everything they do – from buying a product to supporting their friend.  They give because it is a method and connection to their journey of finding purpose.  Wearing a bracelet that supports a cause or paying a premium to wear a product that will save lives is second nature.

Being Human is Standing Up for Something

Every speaker reflected on or mentioned standing up for something they believe in and being ‘human’ in how we talk about causes.   Somehow organizations have lost their way in being human and talking about the people they help, the important issue they address, and how they are different.  Time to get back to the main reason we started causes today – a yearning in our hearts to help someone in need.

To download the 2013 Millennial Impact Research Study and to view the MCON speaker videos in three weeks, visit themillennialimpact.com.