Vocation Campaign Focuses on Millennials

Greg Jakubowicz Features

By now, all the fraternities of Holy Name Province should have received new HNP vocational materials. To enhance Holy Name Province’s image in an effort to attract more interested individuals into our province, HNP’s Vocation Office has developed a professionally-prepared integrated marketing campaign.

The campaign consists of print ads, web splash page, a new URL along with posters and brochures to be placed primarily in locations that are known to have a Franciscan presence and influence – with emphasis on our colleges and other Franciscan ministries. The materials have been distributed through the geographic jurisdiction of our province.

The primary target audience of the campaign is young adult males (18 to 22 years old) who are experiencing a feeling that they cannot articulate.

Since applying to the province is not a decision that is made overnight, it is important to inform these men at an early age and to encourage them to consider and explore the Franciscans. Young men cannot be accepted into the Province until they are 22 years old

It is believed that the “millennial” generation of males (born in 1982 and later) is demographically poised to begin looking at our way of life. Research points out that men of this generation want to “give back” — to contribute to making the world a better place — and they have an interest in group identity work (i.e., Peace Corps, etc.).

They are also identified as being “spiritual” although formal association with religious faith traditions is not necessarily deemed important by these men. Millennial Catholic males who have made formal association with the Church are also strongly looking for visible identifiers with their Roman Catholic tradition. This is manifested in gravitation toward devotional practices and an attraction toward physical symbols (i.e., the habit). This generation also seems to have a problem with commitment (due especially to the high rate of divorce of their parents), which becomes a barrier/concern as they consider pursuing a religious life.

Our objective with this campaign was to encourage those who feel “the call” to explore Holy Name Province and to raise awareness of the Franciscan vocation.

The millennial generation is three times the size of the previous generation (Generation “X” members born between 1961 and 1981). We understand that these young men of the millennial generation appreciate the sense of community/fraternity and are looking for service in that context. Our secondary target is 22 to 38- year-old males who also may be experiencing a “call” and generally are not satisfied with their lives and careers.

Our target audiences have other vocational options, such as diocesan priesthood, that are considered more “singular” focused than the Franciscan way of life.

The campaign was designed to attract attention to the poster or advertisement with the expectation that a viewer gives only three seconds to reviewing the content. Therefore, the posters and advertisements are intentionally minimal in text and images. They are brightly colored to attract attention. Readers are directed to the campaign’s Web site www.BeAFranciscan.org to find out more about the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

Reactions from young people to the campaign seem favorable.

Dan Dwyer said he has noticed several passers-by at Siena College stopping to look at HNP’s poster. He over heard a student describing the poster as “real cool.”  This is good news since the campaign is aimed at men of this age.