Millennials Feel Good Vibrations With Ministry Donations

Millennial donors associate more positive emotions with giving to ministries than non-Millennials. Millennials are also more motivated by internal desires to give as opposed to external requests and do more research before giving than older donors.

The data come from The Generosity Project by the Winchester, Va.-based Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). The report is based on data of 16,800 respondents who gave to ECFA members, with Millennials representing 22 percent of the total.

Millennials were more likely to experience a given positive feeling than donors ages 35 and older across the board, including “hopeful,” 69 percent of Millennials compared to 60 percent of older donors; “connected,” 50 percent to 48 percent; “invested,” 53 percent to 46 percent; “satisfied,” 48 percent to 42 percent; and generous, 45 percent to 25 percent.

Those dollars don’t flow easily, however, as Millennials do their homework before making a gift more often than non-Millennials. Nearly all, 96 percent, Millennials reported that they checked the ministry’s website before giving as compared to 88 percent of non-Millennials. Millennials were also more likely than non-Millennials to research ministries on third-party sites, 73 percent to 61 percent, and ask people that they know before giving, 87 percent to 79 percent.

Millennials are also motivated to give in ways that differ from non-Millennials. More than half of Millennials (52 percent) reported that they gave because of who they are as a person as compared to 48 percent of non-Millennials. Millennials were also slightly more likely to give because of the reason they were asked, 13 percent to 11 percent, and the person who asked them to give, 12 percent to 7 percent. Non-Millennials were far more likely to be influenced by the ministry’s request itself than Millennials, 33 percent to 21 percent.

Despite somewhat non-traditional giving motivators, Millennials are actually slightly more likely than their older counterparts to give in traditional ways, including monthly support, 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent, occasional one-time gifts, 4.2 percent to 4.0 percent; and gifts at small events, 3.5 percent to 3.3 percent.

Millennials are also more likely to give in newer-age means such as online campaigns or challenges, 2.7 percent to 2.4 percent, and social media, 2 percent to 1.8 percent. Non-Millennials are more likely to give in response to a ministry presentation at church, 3.7 percent to 3.5 percent, or with an annual gift or pledge, 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Honesty in business practices is the overall most important quality for an organization, according to 50 percent of donors. Using a gift as promised finished a distant second at 25 percent;
  • The vast majority of donors (92 percent) cited financial accountability as a positive influencer of their decision to support; and,
  • Donors give because they feel blessed and believe their donation will make a difference. Feelings of being blessed, 89 percent, that their gift will make a difference, 85 percent, and that giving is the right thing to do, 71 percent, were the primary motivators of donors, according to the report. Someone they know asking them to give, 27 percent, and family tradition, 13 percent, were the least common reasons reported.