JCI: Engaging and Mobilizing Young People with Technology


By Arrey Obenson,
JCI Secretary General

What’s the best way to engage and mobilize hundreds of thousands of young people in nearly 120 countries? Technology. It’s my job to try to expand our reach as a nonprofit and global movement. It’s JCI’s goal to encourage as many people as possible to achieve real impact in their own communities. JCI (Junior Chamber International) seeks to inspire young people to recognize their responsibility to create a better world and empower them to drive change. With the JCIs World Headquarters here in St. Louis, the best way to activate people around the world is through technology.

With over 100 years of making an impact in the world, JCI continues to grow and expand as we enter the age of technology. As a global nonprofit based in Missouri, we recognize how our presence is not only helping the world, but also this state. In 2013, Missouri’s nonprofits had revenue of $46.33 billion and constituted 17.9% of Missouri’s gross state product. With 32,007 registered nonprofit agencies operating in Missouri, nonprofits represent a major industry sector. JCI’s 25 employees, 16 of whom are based at the World Headquarters in St. Louis, collaborate with more than 14 major global organizations around the world to mobilize thousands of people toward a meaningful contribution in their communities.

In Missouri, nonprofit employment accounts for more than 10 percent of total non-governmental sector employment with 245,743 jobs in the sector generating more than $10 billion in annual wages. But JCI not only contributes to the economy in Missouri, it develops our staff into leaders who engage in fulfilling work. Our work would not be possible without the extensive use of Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, and other tools to connect us to our members, partners and all stakeholders around the world.

Within JCI, our passionate team collaborates efficiently through the extensive use of Google Drive, sharing documents and presentations with our co-workers, members and other active citizens from our offices in St. Louis, Japan, Cameroon, Paraguay, Germany and beyond. Members of working committees use Team Drive to collaborate on specific projects and Drive is used to share critical files with delegates from over 120 countries during annual JCI events. Google Tag Manager and Analytics allows us to monitor and set goals for expanding our membership program and identifying future young civic leaders. Our mission would be impossible to achieve without the use of technology to expand our reach and convey our vision for the world.

As an international nonprofit headquartered in St. Louis, JCI contributes to the economy and the growing hub for service and innovation in St. Louis. A strong nonprofit sector is key to thriving communities and Google recognizes that by not only supporting the essential functionalities of organizations with free, accessible tools but also through Ad Grants. Google supports over 18,000 nonprofits and small businesses with grants for free marketing and advertising to help nonprofits reach economy of scale. JCI continues to grow and leave a positive impact in Missouri and the world thanks to technology and access to Google tools.