Do Millennials Donate to Charities Differently Than Other Generations?

Charitable organizations should be aware that trends have been changing regarding charitable giving. Millennials have a tendency to invest their money differently than prior generations, creating a need for more inventive outreach strategies.

Millennials Are More Prone To Direct Giving

The past decade has seen a proliferation of direct giving services, including the popular GoFundMe platform. Millennials are now more likely to be asked to chip in for medical bills, travel expenses, and emergency costs for friends and family -- and consequently they may end up giving "to charity" that is close to home rather than more abstract. But direct giving doesn't always involve a friend or a family member; quite frequently it can also be someone in a community that a millennial may only know through social networking or may not personally know at all. This fits neatly into the psychology of giving, which has shown repeatedly that it is easier for individuals to empathize and care about individuals when they have a name and a face.

Millennials Are Cautious About Charities

Millennials have become highly skeptical about the charities that they give to. Services such as Charity Explorer make it easier to identify which charities are in good standing and which aren't -- but many charities still have excessive amounts of overhead or may not necessarily donate their money in a way that is immediately transparent. Because of this, millennials are often likely to do a lot of research on the charities that they give to, and may be less likely to give impulsively or to larger charities without knowing exactly where their money is going.

Millennials Tend To Be Political With Their Giving

Many charities that millennials are now giving to are not just charities to help others, but also function as political statements and a method of contributing to political progress. Because of this the charities that tend to be popular with millennials often have to do with rights, political parties, and other similar factors.

Overall, millennials find themselves giving more within their own community circles and they tend to donate to specific causes that they feel strongly about rather than to more general human services. Marketing charitable donations to millennials is often a matter of direct social outreach, often through channels such as social media. But that doesn't mean millennials aren't giving; only that they are giving differently. Understanding this can give charities and edge when it's time to collect donations.

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