It’s not surprising that Millennials aren’t busy giving copious amounts of money to charity. Saddled with student debt and low-paying jobs, many of them have all they can do to meet their basic needs. But according to a new study, there are signs that Millennials are poised to become very generous donors as they age.
Although in financial terms Millennials are currently giving less than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Matures (born in 1945 or earlier), when it comes to volunteerism and attendance at religious services, they’re right on par with earlier generations. These metrics are two of the key indicators of a person’s willingness to give to charity.
To break it down by numbers, of the Millennials surveyed in the U.S.:
- Millennials gave $580 to charity in the past year, compared to $799 for Gen Xers, $1,365 for Baby Boomers, and $1,093 for Matures.
- Millennials averaged 40 volunteer hours over the past year. Gen Xers averaged 34, Baby Boomers 41, and Matures 70.
- 25 percent of Millennials attend religious services once a week or more, compared to 27 percent of Gen Xers, 28 percent of Baby Boomers, and 36 percent of Matures.
As a group, Millennials tend to agree that charities are more effective than government in providing important services. They also gave an average of $416 to places of worship and $96 to faith-based charities in the past year. Twenty-two percent of Millennials said they planned to give more to places of worship in the coming year.
“With census data showing that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation, it’s more important than ever that we understand their giving habits,” said Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company, the nonprofit consulting firm that commissioned the study.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand how important technology and the ability to give online is to Millennials. Of those surveyed, 51 percent had given a gift through a nonprofit’s website, 37 percent had used a smartphone to give through a charity’s website, and 36 percent had been motivated to give by something they saw on a nonprofit’s website.
“A growing body of research shows that Millennials are more engaged in philanthropy than we thought. Our new study seems to indicate that Millennials will give more to charity as they mature,” Dunham said. “Anecdotally, we know that factors like job status and student debt can limit how much they give at this stage of their lives.”
The study was conducted in November 2016 by Campbell Rinker. Data was gathered by means of a 15-minute online survey of 1,391 U.S. donors who were screened to ensure that they had given at least $20 to a charity in the past year.
“Millennial donors aren’t who we thought they were,” said Dunham. “Our research showed they are bullish on charities and are likely to give more to charities as they mature.”