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Engaging Young Adults

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 11:31am -- Jvillage

By MJ Lowinger, Engagement Associate

Members of today's millennial generation are constantly breaking molds and seeking new trends. Learning how to engage and connect with this cohort is critical. Jewish organizations want to attract young adults between the ages of 20-35, but what are the best ways to reach this key demographic group? Here are a few suggestions on how you can reach millennials and invite them to participate in your community. 

  1. Connect online. Create a webpage on your website and list all of the events and programs that are specifically geared for this population. Visit Central Synagogue's dedicated young adult webpage to see how they advertise events to attract folks in their 20's & 30's. Westminster Synagogue has an active and dynamic Westminster Young Professionals group, where young people regularly gather for meals, discussions, and even to learn yoga!

  2. Create community. Position young adult who are already active in your congregation as youth ambassadors to enhance community connections. These ambassadors can start small, such as inviting a few folks into their home for a meal. Then have these ambassadors host interesting programs, such as a Kosher chocolate making workshop, a Hanukkah party, or a themed Shabbat dinner. Be sure that these ambassadors make a point to introduce themselves to all new people.  The biggest complaint I have heard from young adults pursuing community in a new place is that they felt neglected by the people who invited them to an event or the fact that no one greeted them when they arrived. Even asking an outgoing young adult to be a greeter at Shabbat or at Rosh Hashanah services will make a big impact.

  3. Consider Expenses Young adults are cost conscious. Lowering or eliminating dues for 20/30s is a way to start. Otherwise, you must demonstrate to young adults that there is value in paying and that your events and membership are worth paying for.

  4. Market to this demographic. If you're posting pictures of elders at your events, young adults may wonder if they will belong. Are your website, newsletters, and social media channels geared to reach prospective members or are they just announcements? Are young adults able to recognize themselves in these marketing channels?

  5. Create leadership opportunities. Do young adults have a pathway towards leadership in your community? Is there a young adult member of the board to represent this important voice? Is there a way that young adults can offer a voice in the programmatic and educational offerings at your organization?

These questions must be considered and addressed if you want to connect with more young adults. Additionally, you must be sure that you are offering these young adults value. You want them not to attend just one event, but compel them to return and become more deeply immersed in your community.

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