What Next?

Everyone has a role to play to help support and strengthen how people are contributing to their communities. Based on the findings from this report, we offer the following suggestions for consideration.

As organizations, develop specific strategies to better engage different generations to get more involved.

Our findings show many people want to do more in their communities, but a quarter of respondents don’t know how to get more involved. There are emerging trends amongst different generations on how they want to contribute to community. We recommend using the findings from this report to explore different ways to engage different age groups such as:

  • Offer mentorship and/or volunteering opportunities for younger generations that integrate career or skill development or networking.
  • Leverage online giving for older generations.
  • Create volunteering opportunities that require different levels of commitment. For younger generations and some Boomers, offer one-time or short-term volunteering and for Matures and others Boomers, offer long-term opportunities.
  • Create opportunities to invite all generations to a range of ways to learn and do more in support of reconciliation.
  • Leverage social media to connect and encourage participation:
    • For older generations, share news, trends, and volunteering opportunities.
    • Organize and invite attendees through social media to get younger people involved in events and meet-ups.
    • Develop campaigns to help promote your organization or cause. Regardless of age, people like to use social media to raise awareness or advocate for an issue on social media.

As individuals, participate in community to create a sense of belonging.

Community participation can be a way to welcome people into community and create deeper connections with one another. It can be a deeply profound experience to participate in community alongside others who share a desire for change or offer new ways of thinking about the world. When people begin connecting with one another, discovering commonalities and differences, and working together towards a shared objective, the results can be promising.

We see this firsthand through programs like Neighbourhood Small Grants that invite people to find creative ways to bring their communities together like block parties and community gardens. We’ve also seen this happen through On The Table, an initiative we launched that invites people to gather over food and talk about issues that matter to them. A simple call-to-action to gather and share has sparked connections even amongst strangers. There’s great potential in thinking about community participation as a vehicle for creating a sense of belonging.