How Community Organizations Can Benefit Millennials

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Career Advice

Every time you enter a small town, have you ever noticed the welcome sign?

Underneath the “Welcome to Smalltown, U.S.A.” that’s usually stationed on the top of the sign, you’ll notice a number of logos. Possibly a town logo, a school logo… but you’ll also see logos for a number of associations. You’ve seen them – but there’s a good chance you never looked closely (as a driver or passenger, who really does?).

Many national organizations have local clubs or chapters set up inside individual towns – not to mention the organizations that are solely locally-based. These organizations provide excellent networking opportunities.

What are some of these organizations? I can talk about my experiences with two – one local and one national (although you may find that the people who are involved in a group are the people involved in all of the groups…).

In 2014, while I was working in the insurance industry, I became a member of my local rotary_symbol_clearRotary Club – which is an affiliate branch of Rotary International.

I’m sure you’ve heard of a Rotary Club – but what, exactly, do we do? Simply put, Rotarians are business people who come together to do good works – in keeping with the mission of the organization’s flagship “Four-Way Test.” To paraphrase: if it’s honest, fair, right and benefits all concerned, we take part in it.

My club, the Rotary Club of Glen Cove, New York, supports causes both on a local and an international level. We’ve supported a shoe drive that supplied shoes to children attending a school in Kenya, we celebrate local students every month who show their willingness to work and we host an annual fundraiser that benefits the purchasing of winter clothes for area elementary age children – whose families can’t purchase the heavier clothes.

A Rotary friend of mine loves to quote the following: “If you want a project supported, come to Rotary. We’ll do it.” I love the motto, and love that I am part of this.


Chamber of Commerce

group5665fa70f12acThe second community organization I belong to is my area Chamber of Commerce. The group’s mission is to bring local business people together to support other local businesses – hence the name Chamber of Commerce. We promote each other and take advantage of the print and social media opportunities offered by the Chamber. I can’t forget to mention the monthly networking meet-ups, which are not only beneficial, but are also fun!

One thing I’ve noticed as a member is that there are very few millennials who take part in either organization.



So, how can millennials benefit from membership to a chamber of commerce or a Rotary club — or a similar type of organization?

  • Any employer who has reviewed my resume in front of me indicates that it’s not often that he or she sees a younger person with Rotary or a chamber of commerce listed under any type of experience category. It’s unique – and if your resume makes it out of the automatic keyword reader, it will stand out with one of these types of organizations as a line item.
  • Speaking of resume credit…you can utilize your social media prowess. While we millennials can get tired of helping other generations with social media, the fact remains that we are digital natives and we are good at it. I started my Rotary Club’s Facebook page.
  • Opportunities for yet another resume credit in event planning – if, of course, that’s your forte. Organizations like a Rotary Club or a local Chamber of Commerce can’t exist without events and fundraisers.
  • Networking, networking, networking! I’ve met many people across varying industries who all pass out their business cards – and give me the opportunity to pass out mine.
  • They are great places to find career mentors. I’ve found that members of previous generations love to see millennials who are engaged in community organizations, and will not hesitate to take like-minded young professionals under their wings.

Nothing, of course, is for every person or every millennial. However, there is a lot more to community-based organizations than just seemingly boring, weekly meetings. There is a lot of experience to be gained for millennials – all of which can be beneficial to further our respective career goals.

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