Millennials have now surpassed baby boomers as the largest living generation, and they’re about to enter their prime spending years. They’re dominating the workforce, forcing companies to evolve how they do business, and reshaping the economy by voting with their dollar.
Their generation has also been labeled with some not so flattering stereotypes. Ever since Time’s 2013 cover story on the ‘Me-Me-Me Generation’, the media has piled on with stories describing Gen Y as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, job-hopping, unreliable, and social media obsessed. A quick Google search today shows these labels have stuck.
But generalizations about Millennials have also been refuted, and research indicates they also deserve to be called the “giving generation.” A 2014 Millennial Impact Report showed that 87 percent gave to nonprofits in the prior year. When it comes to volunteering, another study indicated Millennials contribute their time and skills more than previous generations. In business, they prioritize purpose over profits, and they’re more likely than previous generations to say it matters that companies give back to society.
When it comes to civic engagement, millennials are mixed. Seven out of 10 millennials identify as social activists, but only 50 percent voted in the 2012 presidential election. As election 2016 approaches, the number of Millennials eligible to vote (69.2 million) now matches that of the Baby Boomers (69.7 million). As a group, Millennials have the potential to be a deciding force in the election, though U.S. census data shows they are the least likely to vote.
Overall voter participation in the past few elections has been declining dramatically. In the 2012 election, 57.5% of eligible voters in America turned out to vote, dipping down from 62.3% in 2008 and 60.4% in 2004.
That’s why we launched #ChimeIn for Election 2016 — to encourage our employees and members of all ages to embrace their political power. This includes registering to vote, getting informed, and a number of other ways to get involved. As part of this initiative, Chime has also pledged to join the #TakeOffElectionDay campaign, which means we’re giving our employees the day off to vote on November 8.
Support for #TakeOffElectionDay is growing, particularly among tech startup companies thanks in large part to Chime investor Hunter Walk of venture capital firm Homebrew. It’s a great way to get company owners involved in fostering civic participation especially given some states have no legal requirement for employers to allow time for voting.
“Let’s flip the script and have the CEOs inform their teams of their right to go vote — and encourage participation. That’s what we’re looking to do with this effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a swing state or not. Register and vote in 2016. Your voice matters.” — Hunter Walk, Homebrew
Over 200 companies from New York to San Francisco have already joined in the pledge to give employees the day off on November 8. You can check out the full list of participating companies on the TakeOffElectionDay website. If you’re a CEO, I encourage you to join the list. If you’re an employee interested in getting your company involved, share this post with your boss and colleagues, or send an anonymous email from the site.
This year’s election is arguably one of the most pivotal in our recent history. Regardless of your political views, let’s do our part to make sure all voters have a chance to #ChimeIn on this important election.