The future of charitable giving rests with millennials. Logical as that observation is, it’s also likely to make some of you wince.
Every generation is forced to endure some unflattering stereotyping, but millennials bear more than the normal brunt.
They’re often portrayed as self-entitled and incapable of developing a personal relationship with anyone or –thing other than their phones.
But, their phones and Facebook, along with the rise of online and mobile banking, have enabled millennials around the world to have an unprecedented impact on social issues and injustice, regardless of their location and the fact that many here in the United States are struggling with increasing student debt, a higher cost of living, and relatively limited job opportunities.
Yes, activism is easier than it’s ever been. Advocating or fundraising for a cause only requires a couple of clicks. But it also appears to be baked into the moral fiber of millennials. The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 found that 60% prioritize purpose and fulfillment in their job hunting.
A monumental—and overnight—shift
Whatever your perception is of millennials, this much is indisputable: They’ll be the largest demographic in the American workforce by 2020. Millennials currently make up about a third of the workforce, but before the end of next year, they’ll comprise more than half of all workers.
Why that’s relevant in the context of charitable giving is because a generation that’s had a reputation for being finicky and influenced by trends will, very quickly, begin to become more grounded and consistent in its behavior. As their disposable income increases and they make greater headway with their student loans, they’ll start to develop behaviors and spending habits that will likely stick with them into middle age.
Potentially the most generous generation yet
Even as millennials earn less than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, are often bogged down with student-loan debt, and are years away from owning a car or home, they’ve managed to give generously. In 2014, 84% of millennial employees gave to charity, and 70% of them donated more than an hour to a charitable cause, according to the Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report: 2015.
As one analyst said, “If people become more generous over their lives and are more likely to give if their parents give, millennials will become the most generous generation in history.
“They believe in their responsibility to create change and are optimistic about their abilities. With the ease of sharing came the ease of giving, as well as the expectation to do so. Young people are finding community through causes and activating each other as they do.”
It’s not a stretch, then, to anticipate that as millennials double as a working population, their share of charitable donations is likely to grow proportionately.