Guest Speaker: Ashley Fell


Ashley Fell was the guest keynote speaker at the Volunteering Queensland Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday 11 October 2017. Ashley is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and as Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle, she understands the need for organisations to communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. Her expertise is in how to communicate across generational barriers.

Ashley presented the latest results from the 2017 Australian Community Trends report regarding demographic and social trends, now and heading towards 2030. Beginning with viral trends from ‘photobombing’, ‘planking’ to the ‘Fidget Spinner’, Ashley delivered an eye-opening and often amusing presentation. 

From social media tactics for effectively utilizing social media platforms and engaging with online communities, to moving with the times to ‘Generation Z and Y’ volunteers and understanding what motivates and drives this generation.

The sector that most directly supports Australian communities is the not-for-profit sector. Charities employ over 1.2 million staff second only to the retail sector. One in five Australian adults has volunteered for a community organisation in the last year which is an increase of 1.3% since 2011. So how can we attract and connect more millennials to volunteering opportunities?

Ashley highlighted ways to engage the ‘Generation Z’ (aged 8-22 yrs) and ‘Generation Y’ (aged 23–37 yrs), and what motivates them. Social research indicates that they will have high mobility in their lifetime and have on average 5 careers and 17 different jobs. They generally relate more to a leadership style which allows them to be collaborative and contribute, rather than a hierarchy with a designated chain a command.

Another theory presented was that millennials are looking for Culture, Purpose and Impact when looking for job or volunteering opportunities. Culture in the workplace community, the way staff interact and the values that the organisation holds. They are seeking social interaction, professional engagement, connection at a workplace and a good work life balance. Purpose is the ‘why’, referring to job security, flexibility, opportunity for further study, personal development and volunteering opportunities. Impact relates to the contribution team members can make to the organisation to help achieve their vision, and they appreciate acknowledgement that their contribution is valued. Similar reasons and values of why individuals volunteer as it enables them to give back to the community, personal belief and to make an impactful difference. 

Australia has an ageing population and with this an ageing workforce. In planning forward we need to draw upon the next generation of talent. To do this managers need to understand their preferred way of working and accommodate it within their volunteer recruitment and organisations culture. 

Special thanks to Ashely Fell and McCrindle for presenting at our 2017 Annual General Meeting.

A copy of Ashley’s PowerPoint presentation is available for download here.