Millennial Donors: They’re Not Who You Think They Are

Millennial Donors: They're Not Who You Think They Are

Introduction

The Millennial generation (those born between 1982 and 2000) has in many ways become the center of attention. And for good reason.

  • In the U.S., according to U.S. census data from 2015, Millennials are now the largest generation, numbering over 83 million, compared to 75 million Baby Boomers.
  • Research is showing that Millennials are more engaged in philanthropy than many thought. According to Blackbaud’s 2013 NEXGEN report, 60 percent of Millennials gave to charity at that time, whereas 84 percent have given to charity in 2014, according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report.
  • When looking at the makeup of charitable donations, Millennials make up 11 percent of donations, compared to 20 percent from Gen Xers, 43 percent from Boomers and 26 percent from Matures.

The upshot is that over the course of the last few years, fundraisers and charities have become more focused on the Millennial generation… wondering what makes Millennials tick… wanting to understand their preferences, interests and engagement with the charitable sector…

… and what the implications might be for charities as they seek to engage this generation.

So we set out to find out directly from Millennial donors what they support, the level of that support, what prompts them to give, general attributes and attitudes… and how they compare to other generations of donors. In addition, we didn’t limit our study to the U.S., but also studied donors in the United Kingdom and Australia to better understand how Millennials in the U.S. compared to their counterparts in those countries.

“Millennials are no longer the next generation; they’re the now generation. Those who want to thrive in the future must understand who this generation is today. This study by Dunham+Company is a clear picture of who millennials really are and how to effectively engage them as donors.” — Wes Gay, Forbes Under 30 Contributor

NOTE: All currency has been converted to U.S. Dollars, with the conversion rate for British Pound Sterling set at 1.25 and the conversion rate for Australian Dollars at 0.75.

General Findings

As you might expect, U.S. Millennials do not give as much to non-church charities as other generations.

Giving in the Past Year by Generation

  • Millennials gave an average of $580
  • Gen Xer respondents gave an average of $799
  • Boomers gave an average of $1,365
  • Matures gave an average of $1,093

But in looking at Millennial giving in the U.K. and Australia, their level of giving is much more similar to the other generations.

U.K. Giving in the Past Year

  • Millennials gave an average of $234
  • Gen Xer respondents gave an average of $245
  • Boomers gave an average of $276
  • Matures gave an average of $259

Australia Giving in the Past Year

  • Millennials gave an average of $317
  • Gen Xer respondents gave an average of $413
  • Boomers gave an average of $366
  • Matures gave an average of $416

In looking at how Millennials compare in giving to non-church charities by country, U.S. Millennials are significantly more generous than their U.K. and Australian counterparts, giving 147 percent more than U.K. Millennials and 83 percent more than Australian Millennials.

  • U.S.: $580
  • U.K.: $234
  • AUS: $317

Many wonder how this compares with other generations when they were the same age as Millennials today. The one report we can point to for the U.S. is the Women Give 2016 report.

In this report, researchers compared giving behavior across a 40-year period, consisting of the Mature Generation (those born between 1925 and 1945) to Millennials when they were young adults, ages 25 to 47. The study “found that Gen X and millennial single women today give at about the same level as pre-boomer single women did in the 1970s. At the same time, Gen X and millennial single men and married couples are giving at lower levels than did their pre-boomer counterparts.”

Millennial Donors: They're Not Who You Think They Are

To find out more about Millennial donors and volunteering, religious involvement, where Millennials give, the role of technology with the Millennial generation of donors, among other findings, please download the full study.



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