Who are the Millennials and What Will They Give? Born around 1981, the Millennial generation comprises about 20% of the U.S. population and 1/3 of the workforce.
A couple of years ago, philanthropy advisor Sean Stannard-Stockton alerted the sector that “The Millennials are Coming” and told us about their penchant for volunteering in this blog post. Many nonprofits began watching and it didn’t take long to see how these social citizens were ignited to act.
We saw a first wave of giving from this generation in response to the Haitian earthquake. Stepping into the limelight hand-in-hand was mGive, the mobile text message method for giving that the Millennials embraced. Fundraisers saw that the status quo simply wasn’t going to fit this new generation.
Since January 2010, a great deal of information began to hit the Net from researchers exploring Millennials’ civic engagement, giving levels, and the communication methods they prefer.
The Giving USA researchers here at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University did the first study of Millennial motivations for giving in 2008 and continue that tradition with more analysis.
To help fundraisers and others interested in engaging young people, the researchers for Giving USA summarized these reports about Millennial giving and added some new data analysis. In this second of the Spotlight series on giving, Charitable Giving and the Millennial Generation, nonprofit professionals will find advice on how to reach Millennials now, in order to establish the relationships needed to bring these young people into the long-term fold of their organization.
Boomers currently give the most and make up the largest share of all donations. However, planning ahead for members of Gen X as they hit peak earning years and for the Millennials—close behind—is crucial to continued support for nonprofit organizations. Providing meaningful engagement for members of this high-energy generation just starting careers will be vital in the coming decade.
These next ten years or so will be a period of transition, as professionals at nonprofit organizations adopt and adapt to new communication tools, listen – really listen – to donors of all ages to hear what they prefer, and develop systems that allow them to offer every donor or volunteer a positive and personal connection with their work.
Perhaps the best advice for nonprofits is to engage people of all ages and experiences as trusted advisors. In the end, nonprofit professionals need to work with their own group’s donors and prospective donors. And they might — or might not – fit within the general trends found in this research.
* Some of the other reports on Millennials include:
Pew Research Center’s Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next
Convio’s The Next Generation of American Giving (registration required)
Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates’ Millennial Donors: A Study of Millennial Giving and Engagement Habits
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University for Campbell & Company’s Generational Differences in Charitable Giving and in Motivations for Giving.
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