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Millennial giving to nonprofits prioritizes lived values

April 18, 2021
A diverse group of women standing in front of a brick wall with their arms around each other.

According to Fidelity Charitable’s report, the Millennial philosophy of giving back prioritizes their values. This means that Millennials are more likely to make donations to nonprofit organizations that are working towards purposes that they care about that align with their personal values.

This article will take a closer look at the Millennial generation’s attitude towards nonprofits and donating and will cover the different types of support they lend to the organizations they care about. Let’s get started!

Financial gifts vs. other support for Millennial giving

While there is obvious value in financial gifts to nonprofits, supporters and activists can also very effectively give back in non-monetary ways. Millennials in particular express their relationship to social good in ways that expand beyond donating and differ from past generations. According to the NonProfit Times:

  • Two-thirds of Millennial donors report making a purchase from a socially-responsible business, in contrast to half of all donors.
  • 43% report considering social or environmental implications when making investments, in contrast to the 20% of donors as a whole.
  • 87% believe it is important to work for an organization that engages in socially responsible actions, in contrast to 70% of donors as a whole.
  • 75% consider themselves philanthropists, whereas only a third of Baby Boomers see themselves that way.

These findings suggest Millennials see their commitment to social good as being connected to a lifetime of values-based choices and behaviors. Not only do Millennials give and act in alignment with their values, but they’re also willing to pause or halt support from organizations that don’t keep their promises or embody their values. As a generation, Millennials want to support nonprofits that are responsible and genuine.

Millennial giving inside and outside the 501(c)(3) sphere

Millennial giving doesn’t stop outside of designated nonprofit organizations. They are also amazing advocates for the causes they support, as they embrace the power of their voices on social media. Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen X, Millennials are most likely to be influenced by peers in their giving and advocacy choices. They are more likely to discuss their giving with friends and family and encourage them to donate to the same causes.

Millennials are also more likely to donate directly to those in need rather than through traditional nonprofit channels. According to the NonProfit Times, 57% of Millennials have “donated to individuals through an online giving platform” like GoFundMe, and 64% have given money directly to an individual. Millennials will even make direct donations to individuals that they do not know personally.

Millennial giving: Creating long-term relationships

Millennials’ futures as changemakers include many forms of action to support a nonprofit with a purpose they believe in—they don’t just want to feel good, they want to do good. That means nonprofits who want to partner with this generation of supporters must focus on building authentic connections, and then steward them along their preferred paths of engagement with an eye toward retention.

To leverage what you know about Millennial supporters, provide them with lots of volunteer opportunities. Host community-centered events and focus on building long-term relationships. 

Understand that involving Millennials more deeply with your nonprofit will be more beneficial in the long run. When members of this generation decide to lend you their support, it won’t just be financial—they will bring their network, their advocacy, and their volunteer hours.

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