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Generations in Volunteering

January 2016 - Volunteering is a great way to bring different types of people together. EAA has had the pleasure of having many long-term volunteers, and each year we see them pass on their knowledge and experience to new volunteers joining the ranks.

As we bring on the next generation, we now have at least four generations volunteering: traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials.

So, what is a generation and what makes each so different? If you search “What is a generation?” you come up with “all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively.” This is a very simple definition and leaves out the basics of what makes a generation. Each generation grew up with different world events, technology, communications, and so on. Each generation is a little different, but that is what makes them so important—they bring new ideas and perspectives, new stories and teachings, that help EAA succeed.

So what does this mean to volunteerism?

Learn more about the volunteer work ethics and values of volunteering for each of the generations, and keep these characteristics in mind while volunteering with others from different generations.

Traditionalists—Born between 1929 and 1945

Volunteer Work Ethics and Values:

  • Dedicated to their jobs
  • Follow the rules
  • Respect authority
  • Prefer hierarchal organization
  • Patient (don’t need instant gratification)
  • Traditional expectations
  • May use computers to communicate with children and grandchildren, but more cautious about technology than younger generations

Baby Boomers—Born between 1946 and 1964

Volunteer Work Ethics and Values:

  • May have workaholic tendencies
  • Loyal to organizations
  • Support personal causes
  • Hard workers (want gratification from work)
  • Seek self-improvement and growth
  • Like technology that “works” and makes their lives easier

Gen Xers—Born between 1965 and 1980

Volunteer Work Ethics and Values:

  • Seek balance between work, volunteerism, and personal life
  • Loyal to people
  • Relatively informal teamwork and volunteer style
  • Self-reliant
  • Want to have fun at work and volunteer activities
  • Like to work with latest technology
  • Aware of diversity and think globally

Millennials—Born between 1981 and 2002

Volunteer Work Ethics and Values:

  • Demand balance between work, volunteerism, and personal life
  • Self-assured and achievement-focused
  • Loyal to ideas, causes, and products
  • Strong morals and community service
  • Eager to make a positive impact while volunteering
  • Tolerant
  • Expect the latest technology
  • Expect an active voice in decision-making and planning
  • Want immediate feedback

We hope you find this insight into each generation’s ethics and values useful as we work together as like-minded enthusiasts in the world of recreational aviation.

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