Last month’s Getting Attention answered a reader’s query to Ask Nancy on how to raise awareness of domestic violence and related services. I made several suggestions to SAFE and asked for your input.
First of all, thanks for all of your great ideas. I was impressed by the many recommendations you submitted, and I’ll share them with you over time. I was particularly struck by the following recommendation:
Start with the teenagers. It’s a safer way to get the message out to adults because even adults who are abusers don’t want their kids to suffer:
- Reduce dating violence and abuse.
- Reach out to form peer groups in local high schools.
- Empower the kids to find alternatives to abuse for themselves and their families.– Laura Scharf, Development Coordinator
Westchester Children’s Association
White Plains, NY
Youth. We all (ok, many of us, especially those over 30) seem to be looking to youth as the saviors for all causes, as advocates, donors, volunteers, and behavioral models for their peers. Well, that’s on target. They’re the ones who are our future. But how do we reach Generations X, Y, and Z?
First, to define (loosely):
Generation X, ages 24-32 years
Generation Y, ages 16-24 years
Generation Z, ages preteen-15 years.
How do we engage this group which – more than any other – is inundated with marketing and communications and highly skilled in filtering it. All of our communications reach this group in the midst of billions of other messages. XYZ respond to this barrage with a healthy dose of self-protection, registering only the top priorities. So how do we pierce the Generations XYZ’s veil of skepticism? How do make sure our messages make the cut?
I heard this same call to action (“We need to engage youth. They’re our future.”) recently from an environmental client. Founded mid-20th century, this organization’s loyal following is fading away. Yep, youth are their future, but how to reach them, build awareness of the issues, change behavior, and engage them in the cause?
Obviously, reaching XYZ requires unique strategies, tools, and messages. Online is king. Immediacy, strong statements, and sharp graphics are a must. The environmental organization’s current constituencies aren’t heavy web or email users. XYZ are. The organization could make assumptions about their current constituencies; with XYZ they can’t. So what are the next steps, and the directions for the future and future generations?