Millennial Giving & Volunteering Influenced By Peers

June 24, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

Competitions and incentives can motivate Millennial employees in particular and inspire short-term engagement but in the long run, managers must show employees how their donation or volunteer hours make a difference, according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report released today.

Achieve, an Indianapolis, Ind.-based research and creative agency for causes and a division of software company Forte Interactive, authored the fifth annual study, in partnership with The Case Foundation. The first four reports focused on the relationships between Millennials – people born between 1980 and 2000 – and nonprofits. For instance, last year’s report examined Millennials who research and consider a company’s cause work during their job search. This year’s study asked different questions, looking at company cause work, factors that influence engagement in the workplace, and the relationship between Millennial employees and their managers.

“The Millennial generation is influential. From their buying power to their handle on the limitless potential of social media, Millennials can address issues and be a voice for a cause like no other generation before them,” Derrick Feldman, leader researcher and president of Achieve, wrote in the study.

Peers and director co-workers are the most likely individuals to influence Millennial employees to participate in company cause work. More than a quarter of Millennials said they are more likely to donate to a cause if their supervisor does but almost half said they are more likely to donate if a co-worker asks them. About one in five said they are more likely to make a donation if the CEO or a top-ranking executive makes the ask.

Among the reports other findings:

  • Offer episodic, short-term volunteer opportunities. Most Millennials volunteer between 1 and 10 hours per year and are more likely to volunteer if they can leverage their skills or expertise. About 25 percent said they were able to use their skills to benefit the cause.
  • Millennials are interested in and passionate about a cause but tangible incentives like name recognition, prizes and more time off, can encourage participation. Some 43 percent said they would be more likely to give if competition was involved.
  • Show how participation makes a difference. Almost four out of five Millennial employees surveyed who volunteered through a company-sponsored initiative said they felt they made a positive difference. About 14 percent said a co-worker or peer encouraged them while 8 percent said they received some type of incentive.
  • Match donations: 74 percent of Millennial managers and 69 percent of employees said they would be more likely to donate to a company-giving campaign if their employer matched at least some portion of their gift.
  • Encourage unsanctioned giving. More than half of Millennials made a donation to a cause their company was not associated with in response to a co-workers personal solicitation.

Findings are based on responses from surveys completed by a national representative sample of Millennials and managers, as well as five companies that were research partners to present small-, medium- and large-scale companies in the United States.

This report is the first of two phases. The second phase will include a series of one-on-one interviews with a representative sample of survey respondents, to compare anecdotal comments with data from the report. The second phase will be released after it is completed in January. There were 2,588 responses to attitudinal surveys, composed of 1,584 completed Millennial employee surveys and 1,004 surveys completed by managers. There are 30.23 million Millennial employees and 55.727 million managers in the United States older than age 20, according to Achieve.

Some 84 percent of Millennial employees made a donation last year, with 30 percent of those giving through an online platform compared with 28 percent who donated a check or cash into an on-site vestibule. About 22 percent said their donation was solicited through their company and 11 percent had their donation deducted from their paycheck.

Approximately 78 percent of those who did not donate through their employers did make a donation on their own at some point during the year. Almost half of Millennials donated to a giving campaign promoted by their employer at some point in their lives and more than half said that a supervisor or representative from their company asked them to make a donation.

Almost one-third of Millennial employees did not volunteer last year while 17 percent estimated they volunteered up to 10 hours. About 25 percent of managers did not volunteer compared with 33 percent who said up to 10 hours.
The longer managers worked at their company, the less the opportunity to volunteer with co-workers motivated them to participate, according to the survey, while employees from larger companies have higher volunteer rates.

For more information, visit www.TheMillennialImpact.com