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Why Richmond? A nonprofit perspective.

ConnectVA attended the Richmond Times-Dispatch Public Square on Tuesday. The event focused on what attracts and retains young professionals and millenials to and in Richmond, based on the findings of a survey conducted by Richmond’s Future YRVA project team. The team is comprised of Richmond-area young professionals and the survey collected responses from local college students and young professionals as well as young professionals in peer cities such as Austin and Denver. The Millenial generation represents a rising cohort with powerful, dynamic demographics and implications.

The RTD has written several articles about this recent work by Richmond’s Future, an independent think tank focused on the future of the RVA region. The project team and newspaper have boiled down their findings and recommendations to two key areas: food and jobs. They also acknowledge that key questions remain about underrepresented and at-risk populations.

But other interesting survey data also revealed important implications for the region and our nonprofit sector.

  • Graduating college students and working young professionals desire jobs that encourage creating new ideas and content. Creativity does not necessarily mean “the arts” but a spirit of innovation in any setting.
  • Over 80% of respondents said they have volunteered and feel they can make a difference.
  • The top reason RVA young professionals live here is not employment or location but people.
  • Millennials value genuine fellowship and the ability to influence, shape and have a sense of ownership in their community.

Jobs, food, creativity, fellowship, civic engagement and leadership combine to form a network of connections that create a thriving community. Nonprofits can take these insights and craft programs, open job and volunteer positions, and contribute to systems in ways that emphasize a variety of shared experiences in a connected culture, while aligning with existing and future goals. Tapping into the desires and preferences of this generation is an opportunity for nonprofits to grant and harness the social capital required to create conditions for a strong community. And we have work to do: only 44% of RVA young professionals agreed that Richmond is a place to join a nonprofit board.

Nonprofits can take the lead in creating opportunities for young professionals to participate in a community for the common good.


Are you a young or early career nonprofit professional? ConnectVA powers YNPN RVA, a movement activating young and early career nonprofit professionals through professional development, networking, and social opportunities to positively impact the Greater Richmond area. 

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