However you feel about Saturday’s nuptials, Harry and Meghan demonstrated a surprisingly common touch in their choice of wedding gifts.
They are both technically part of Generation Y, a happier moniker than the ill-starred Millennial which has become synonymous with self-absorbed snowflakeyness in some people’s eyes. Just for the record, I think that’s lazy, and as evidence, Â I have plenty of Boomer contemporaries who are on the verge of melting.
To be fair, Harry has demonstrated some typical behaviours in the past. 36% of Gen Y’s limit their alcohol intake after ‘social shaming’ shots of unexpectedly heavy-duty nights out. I imagine it doesn’t take many paparazzi pics to put the brakes on.
Joking apart, far from blaming their Boomer parents for eating all the pies, 88% of Gen Y think that they are responsible for how their own lives turn out. The most educated generation yet, they expect to see their personal values reflected in how they work, how they purchase and how they give.
More and more Gen Y’s are questioning whether big, global charities can match their values, with trust in institutions at an all time low across all the generations.
Look at Harry and Meghan’s wedding list. In asking well wishers to donate to their chosen charities rather than deluge them with well meaning but unwanted stuff, they are following a well-established trend. But look how they’ve chosen.
CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association) pays respect to Princess Diana’s support for the same cause. She also took William and Harry to visit homeless shelters to help them understand their wider world, and Crisis benefits from that connection. Myna Mahila Foundation, empowering women in Mumbai’s urban slums, speaks to Meaghan’s interests. Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved Armed Forces children to Harry’s ten year military career. Â StreetGames uses sport to change lives across the UK. Â Surfers Against Sewage and Wilderness Foundation UK demonstrate an awareness of the need to actively protect nature at sea and on land.
What’s interesting is most of these charities are relatively small or in Crisis’s feel ‘small’ because they connect their supporters directly with their work through their fundraising. In choosing smaller causes, Harry and Meghan are echoing the choices their Gen Y peers are making, and inadvertently issuing a challenge. We know large, medium or small can all do equally excellent work, but being seen as ‘too big, too bureaucratic, I can’t see the difference I’ll make’ is not something to aspire to. In designing and delivering today’s fundraising, making a direct connection and giving a tangible sense of being part of something is not just a nice to have, it’s essential.