Episode 17: Are Millennials Really So Selfish?

Millennials often get blamed for killing entire industries, from cars and diamonds to malls, fast casual restaurants and cable television. Apparently, they spend so much on avocado toast that they can’t afford a mortgage (or that could be the result of their crushing college debt and coming of age in the Great Recession). But Millennials also have a heart, often looking to do good whether working for a nonprofit or a for-profit.

Two researchers at Princeton University took a closer look at charitable donations to analyze how the philanthropic behavior of Millennials compares to earlier generations. “Are Millennials Really So Selfish? Preliminary evidence from the Philanthropy Panel Study” was published by Harvey Rosen, The John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy Emeritus at Princeton University, and recent Princeton graduate Peter Koczanski.

Harvey Rosen

The pair found that Millennials appear to be “substantially less likely” to make a charitable gift than previous generations. However, when controlling for differences in their ages, incomes, wealth and other factors, when Millennials do make a donation gift, they’re likely to donate more than previous generations — as some 15 percent more. Rosen and Koczanski join this month’s Fresh Research podcast episode to discuss how they came up with the research idea, what might be behind Millennial giving, as well as religious and secular giving among among Millennials.

“It could be…that the transition to adulthood is coming later in the life cycle for recent generations. Alternatively, generational theory focuses our attention on differences in formative experiences across generations. Millennials came of age during the Great Recession, which could have affected their attitudes toward philanthropy,” they write in the paper.

Peter Koczanski

Millennials are considered those born from about 1980 to 1996, coming after Generation X (1965-1980) and the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), who are entering their prime giving years. The oldest Millennials are approaching 40 years old, starting their families and perhaps beginning their philanthropic careers in earnest. The youngest of this generation are in their mid-20s, perhaps recent college graduates and likely not thinking as much about charitable giving but building the foundation of their career.

Episode 44: Regulating CEO Pay...

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When the Nonprofit Revitalization Act passed in 2013, it was the first major overhaul of nonprofit regulations in New York State in 40 years. The legislation modernized rules around nonprofit boards and committees and, among other things, prohibited nonprofit officers from being present at meetings where their pay is discussed. In the years since, a […]

Episode 43: Checking Out Charity...

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You finish up your shopping and the cashier asks, “Would you like to donate to a local charity?” Do you give? If you do, how much? Or maybe they ask you, would you like to round up your total to donate the difference? Those are some of the scenarios in a recent experiment. Results of […]

Episode 42: Bitcoin and the Future Of Fundraising...

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The American Cancer Society aims to raise $1 million exclusively through cryptocurrency. Its Cancer Crypto Fund will be renamed in honor of the first donor to contribute $250,000. Donations of at least $10,000 will appear on the Cancer Crypto Fund Wall of Honor. The Salvation Army launched a cryptocurrency option the week before Christmas and […]

Episode 41: Multi-Channel Donor Communications...

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Research shows that multi-channel donors can be worth more than donors who give only online or only offline. But do nonprofits treat multi-channel donors like they’re worth two or three times more to their organization? A recent experiment looked at how nonprofits respond after a gift and the results could surprise you. Gabe Cooper,  CEO […]

Episode 40: The Great DAF Debate...

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Donor-advised funds (DAF) have dominated philanthropy in any number of ways over the past decade, whether it’s increasing charitable contributions, boosting assets, or simply garnering attention within the public square. That could be why it takes a super sized episode of Fresh Research tackle the topic. This episode diverges from the usual format; instead of […]

Episode 39: Best Nonprofits To Work For 2021...

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Even for the Best Nonprofits To Work For, 2020 was a difficult year. The United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS) rarely has any voluntary turnover among its 21 employees. But like at many nonprofits, the pandemic forced difficult decisions. The organization laid off about one-third of its staff in July. It was among […]

Bonus Episode: Charitable Crowdfunding...

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A new report examines how crowdfunding fits into the larger philanthropic landscape and perceptions of crowdfunding by both crowdfunding donors and non-crowdfunding donors while also looking at charitable behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, Charitable Crowdfunding: Who Gives, to What, and Why? by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, uses data from […]

Episode 38: A Year Into The Pandemic...

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For a lot of nonprofits, it’s been a year of working remotely, replacing in-person events with virtual events and trying to make it through the next quarter. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Pam Keough would have described herself as one of those bosses who believes everyone needs to be in the office. Now, it’s not so […]

Episode 37: Outlook for Charitable Giving...

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Early indicators show that charitable giving was up in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Projections for giving in 2021 and 2022 are even rosier. Charitable giving is expected to increase 4.1% this year, buoyed by individual giving (+6%), and another 5.7% in 2022 on the strength of increased giving via foundations (+8.8%) and […]

Episode 36: Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report...

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Overall giving rose 2% in 2020 compared to 2019 while online donations grew 21%, according to the Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report. Steve MacLaughlin, vice president, production management, at Blackbaud, visits this episode of the Fresh Research podcast to break down the data and what you need to know about 2020 giving. The report is […]

Episode 35: 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report...

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Donor-advised funds (DAF) in 2019 continued their meteoric growth over the past decade and in the first half of 2020 — amidst the coronavirus pandemic — grantmaking by DAFs increased by almost 30 percent. The 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report is the most comprehensive data on donor-advised funds (DAFs) in the United States. The latest report, […]

Episode 34: Nonprofit Jobs Report...

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Since 1.6 million nonprofit jobs were lost in the three months after the pandemic was declared, steady growth in nonprofit jobs each month was derailed in December, wiping out nearly two months of gains. It’s projected to take 1.5 years for the sector to recover entirely but within most fields it could be a year […]

Episode 33: Effects of overhead on donor decisions...

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If there was a list of dirty words for the nonprofit sector, overhead would likely be number one on the list. In spite of efforts like The Overhead Myth, it can still be a source of frustration for nonprofit employees and executives yet donors still seem to be hung up on the phrase. Ellie Heng […]

Episode 32: The 2020 NPT 100...

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The nation’s largest nonprofits reported aggregate revenue of $86.4 billion in 2019, which is up 1 percent over the previous year. Those figures come from The NonProfit Times‘ 2020 NPT 100 report, a study of the largest nonprofits in the United States. Jacob Harold, executive vice president at Candid, shares his insights during a discussion about […]

Episode 31: Unlocking Generosity with AI...

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The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding and the next few years will be huge for nonprofits in adopting the technology as a strategic tool, from the program side to the fundraising side. Authors Beth Kanter and Allison Fine join this episode of The NonProfit Times‘ Fresh Research podcast to discuss their paper, “Unlocking […]

Episode 30: Charitable Estate Gifts...

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It’s nothing new to fundraisers and planned gift officers that women and childless couples are the prime prospects for bequests and other estate gifts. New research suggests that those are still huge factors in the process but timing your nonprofit’s communication based on recency of gifts might be exactly the wrong way to go. Russell […]

Episode 29: Charity Navigator Encompass Rating System...

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Charity Navigator this month unveiled the first pillar of its new rating system. Years in the making, the Encompass Rating System (ERS) expands the number of charities rated from 9,000 to almost 160,000. President and CEO Michael Thatcher joins the Fresh Research podcast to explain the four “beacons” that will comprise the 100-point rating system: […]

Episode 28: How Civic Engagement Changes in Times of Crisis...

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the nonprofit sector in a number of ways. What effect COVID-19 might have on charitable behavior, like volunteering, remains to be seen. In this episode, we talk to Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a senior researcher at its Do Good […]

Episode 27: Generosity Across Income And Wealth...

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The percentage of household income given to charity each year generally runs about 2 percent across most income levels, but goes up with wealth, according to a new research paper.   Benjamin Priday, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, joined the Fresh Research podcast to discuss, “Generosity Across Income and […]

Episode 26: Best Nonprofits To Work For...

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“I feel I am valued in this organization.” “I can trust what this organization tells me.” “Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.” Those are three of the top 10 drivers identified in the 2020 Best Nonprofits To Work For. The special report appears annually in the April edition of The NonProfit […]