Millennials: The Next Generation of Giving

Diverse group of people using mobile smartphone outdoors

Are you a nonprofit hoping to connect with younger generations? This guest blog post by Melissa Libertini, Research Assistant on our Advancement team, explores charitable trends and preferences among millennials.

The millennial generation is creating a lot of buzz in the workforce right now, and employers are eager to learn how to retain and engage this growing sector of the population. Studies show that millennials want to work for companies and organizations who are doing good for their communities, and the world, at large. What’s more, they are often willing to take the next step and donate their time, and money, to causes they care about. Let’s take a closer look at how and why millennials are giving back.

Facebook Give Button

A “donate” button on an organization’s Facebook page makes giving simple and fast.

Get Social

Supporting causes online has become an important part of defining one’s passions and interests. The easier organizations can make it for millennials to get involved or donate, the better. Facebook users can geographically check in at their favorite nonprofit or fundraiser, hashtag a cause they are passionate about, and even donate with the click of a button! 

Plant the Seed

Though many millennials are still getting started in their careers and establishing their financial foundation, they’re eager to support causes they care about. In fact, more than half of the Millennials surveyed by the Millennial Impact Report (2015) said they would be interested in making monthly donations to a nonprofit.

We talked with millennials who give to the Cleveland Foundation to find out what motivates them:

“At this point in my life, I can’t afford to make gifts that will have a significant impact in dollar terms (though hopefully one day I’ll be able to) so I think of my donations and annual giving as more of a show of support.” – Brittany, 27, Marketing Coordinator

“I know that not everyone has had the same opportunities [as me] and I would like to help. I also feel that I take from the city a lot – I go for runs throughout all parts of the city, I go to sporting events, enjoy the beach, go out for drinks and meals often, etc…  Ultimately, I feel that I take, more than I give.” –Josh, 30, Financial Analyst

“Adding a small amount in my monthly budget to support causes I care about helps me feel more connected to my community.” – Delia, 28, Speech Pathologist

Share Meaningful Updates

Millennials like to be involved in projects and causes they care about. They’re also more likely to pay attention when they can see how  their dollars are making an impact. Organizations can engage young people by sharing stories online or via email, hosting young professional outings or creating young professional committees to give them a seat at the stakeholder’s table. Millennials are enthusiastic ambassadors to the greater community and members of this social media-savvy generation often have strong online networks.

Whether you’re a nonprofit organization looking to engage the next generation of patrons, or a for-profit company that wants to support employees’ charitable giving, understanding millennials’ preferences and perspectives can help you successfully prepare for the future.

Are you a millennial? Share your thoughts about giving in the comments below!


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