The Social Strategist Part VII: Kyle Taylor and an Inspired Approach to Youth & Donor Engagement

Kyle Taylor has literally crisscrossed the globe observing, documenting and advancing the cause of youth development. From Vietnam to Tanzania and everywhere in between, this week’s social strategist has traveled to more than 12 countries in the past year alone.

Kyle Taylor of Inspired Adventures

I first heard about Kyle because of his work with Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that strives to “plant that seed of social change in young people,” as Kyle puts it. As Youth Venture’s youth ambassador, Kyle took to the road for a year to see how young people were creating their own socially benefiting organizations.

“The older you get the more jaded you are to how successful something can be, how far something can go…what’s really possible. But with young people there’s none of that doubt and there’s a lot more positive energy and level of hope,” Kyle explains in the interview.

But how do you engage with young people in an effective way?

“I think there’s this big myth that young people can’t have an ordinary conversation, like they’re almost inept. [But] when you work with young people they are an open book,” Kyle counters.

“The key thing to remember is [engagement] has to be local, it has to be relatable, and it has to be an asking instead of a telling culture.”

Kyle at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Kyle currently serves as the manager of business development for Australia’s Inspired Adventures, an innovative organization that works with charities to create trips for donors to directly see – and interact with – the projects their money helps to support.

“It’s about delivering the hard cash, at one element, but it’s also about educating donors in a more comprehensive way about what the organization does,” he says.

This donor engagement model has created brand evangelists along the way, and Kyle speaks about how some of the trips have done just that.

“That level of intimacy and level of positive communication [when supporters visit projects] you cannot buy. Those people now go back to Australia [and] are 18 new ambassadors for your cause,” says Kyle.

Listen to my interview with Kyle Taylor to learn more about his suggestions for engaging young people and donors around causes in sustainable and inspiring ways.


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About the Author:

John Trybus is a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and a master’s degree candidate in the PR/CC program. His day job is working as the manager of outreach and public relations at the Jane Goodall Institute where his main area of focus is planning Goodall’s perpetual 300-day-per-year global speaking tour. He has traveled with Goodall to more than 30 states to date, reaching an estimated 35,000 people in person per year in the U.S. alone. He was named one of PRNews’ 15-to-Watch public relations professionals last year and is a passionate cause consultant. You can find him on LinkedIn.

About The Social Strategist:

The Social Strategist: A Conversation on Cause Based Communication is an audio project of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication that aims to create a dialogue on effective cause based communication while showcasing best practices of the most successful organizations, companies and people working in the field today. Each episode of the program is focused on one guest and the series aims to ultimately answer the question: what are the traits of an effective social strategist?