Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


Similar to other generations, millennials are attracted to organizations whose causes align with their interests, yet millennial college students' participation in nonprofit voluntary organizations is declining in the United States. Little academic literature explores the causes for the declines in participation, particularly related to civil rights organizations on college campuses. As a result, grassroots civil rights organizations are viewed as dying. Using Howe-Straus' generational theory as a foundation, this case study was to gain the perspective of 20 millennial generation students born between 1980 and 2000 on three college campuses and three civil rights organizations in the southeastern United States. Data were collected from 20 millennial generation students in two phases. Participants completed Clary and Snyder's volunteer functions inventory prior to being interviewed with a focus on understanding the factors that motivate or serve as a disincentive for the millennial generation to volunteer in civil rights organizations on campus. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics; interview data were transcribed, inductively coded, and subjected to a thematic analysis procedure. Findings indicate that participants perceive that civil right organizations overlooked opportunities to engage in effective outreach and recruitment of millennial students by focusing on causes that are perceived to be of value to this population. Furthermore, organizations underutilize millennial-friendly outreach, including use of social media campaigns. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to engage in recruitment activities that are appealing to the millennial generation in order to garner the contributions of this population of students.