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  • Marty Zimmerman

Millennials are Having a Philanthropic Moment!

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Philanthropy word cloud graphic

A recent survey about philanthropic giving has surprised many in the fundraising world with the finding that millennials, on average, have increased their charitable giving by 40% since 2016. Fundraising firm Dunham + Company polled 1,400 households, organizing data into four generational categories:

Baby Boomers - born between 1946 and 1964

Gen X - born between 1965 and 1980

Millennials - born between 1981 and 1996

Gen Z - born between 1997 and 2012

In 2022, the average annual contribution broke down as follows:

Baby Boomers gave $2,568, down 4% since 2016.

Millennials gave $1,324, up 40% since 2016.

Gen X gave $1,220, down 12% since 2016.

Gen Z gave $747 but was not included in the 2016 research.

This demonstrates that millennials are leaning toward their philanthropic power. How is your organization attracting and stewarding millennial donors? Here are three tips.

Phone Home (or to Your Giving Page)

Millennials use their smartphones a lot… and not for calls. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re probably missing them. They will donate to you through email campaigns and texts that send them to your donation page. A “donate now” button is essential, and they are great candidates for recurring donations. If you’re using print collateral, it is important to have a QR code that directs donors to your giving page through their mobile devices.

Embrace the Busy

Millennials have a lot going on. They are the largest generation in the workforce. Various studies indicate that, on average, they work significantly more than 40 hours per week. Their kids are tweens, which means after-school sports and lessons keep them busy. You can accommodate this by offering donor meetings that fit into their schedules, like a walk in the park where their child has soccer practice or a coffee delivery to their office. Convenience is key for this busy population.

Show me the Mission

A study from 2021 found that 90% of millennials are moved to give because of an organization’s mission. Show them the impact of your organization with video content and testimonials. Create impact reports that document how their dollars are making a difference. If you are a faith-based organization, this news is especially good for you because faith-based organizations are the top recipient of millennials’ philanthropic dollars. But transparency is key because this same study shows that they’ll stop giving to an organization they don’t trust.

Read more here and here to learn about how this population can inform your fundraising strategic planning and increase your impact. A little awareness about millennials can have a huge impact on your fundraising goals!


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