Millennials Start Displaying Inclination To Give

Millennials are still a ways away from contributing to the nonprofit sector to the same extent as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. If signifiers of willingness to give such as volunteerism and attendance at religious services are to be believed, however, Millennials are closer to being as active as their elders than dollars indicate. Millennials gave an average of $580 to charity during the past year, according to a study commissioned by Dunham + Company, a consultancy to nonprofits, and conducted by Campbell Rinker.

Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Matures, by comparison, gave $799, $1,365, and $1,093, respectively. Millennials were defined in the study as being born between 1982 and 2000, while Gen Xers were defined as born between 1965 and 1981, Baby Boomers between 1946 and 1964, and Matures 1945 and earlier. Findings were based on online surveys conducted by Campbell Rinker with 1,391 U.S. donors who had given at least $20 to charity in the past year.

As a piece of the pie, Millennials make up just 11 percent of reported donations as compared to 20 percent for Gen Xers, 43 percent for Baby Boomers and 26 percent for Matures. However, they fair better in giving-related behaviors such as volunteerism and attendance at religious services. Millennials surveyed averaged 40 volunteer hours during the past year as compared to 34 for Gen Xers, 41 for Baby Boomers and 70 for Matures. Additionally, one quarter (25 percent) of Millennials reported attending religious services once or more per week – similar to that of Gen Xers (27 percent), Baby Boomers (28 percent), and Matures (36 percent).

Millennials show a particular willingness to support houses of worship and faith-based organizations. Millennials surveyed gave an average of $416 per year to houses of worship and $96 per year to faith-based nonprofits. Education-focused organizations were the next largest group at an average of $84. More than a fifth (22 percent) stated that they plan to give more to houses of worship in the coming year.

The study highlights the significance of Millennials’ willingness to engage in giving behaviors, citing 2015 census data showing that the group is now America’s largest generation, outnumbering Baby Boomers 83 million to 75 million.

“With census data showing that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation, it’s more important than ever that we understand their giving habits,” said Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company in a statement. “Millennial donors aren’t who we thought they were. Our research showed they are bullish on charities and are likely to give more to charities as they mature.”

    Additional, more general findings from the report, include:

  • Millennials look online and on their mobile devices for influencers toward giving. More than half (51 percent) reported giving through a charity’s website while 37 percent stated that they had used a smartphone to give. More than one-third (36 percent) were motivated to give by something they saw on a charities’ website;
  • A focus on technology doesn’t mean that Millennials don’t respond to more traditional giving methods. Half (50 percent) stated that they expect to receive postal mail from charities they support at least once per month and two out of three respondents said that they expect at least one email per month;
  • U.S. Millennials give more to charity than their counterparts in the U.K. and Australia. U.S. Millennials gave an average of $580 during the past year while U.K. Millennials gave an average of $234 and Millennial Australians gave an average of $317; and,
  • There is more parity between generations in the U.K. and Australia. Millennials in Australia gave an average of $317 during the past year as compared to $413 for Gen Xers, $366 for Baby Boomers, and $416 for Matures. In the U.K., Millennials gave an average of $234 while Gen Xers gave $245, Baby Boomers gave $276, and Matures gave $259.