Millennials Redefining charitable giving

Our young leaders are changing how many things are getting done these days. Businesses are shifting their cultures to accommodate. Millennials are immersed in social media and the “selfies” craze and its creating serious  transparency in well, everything. They are a unique generation that likes to do things  their own way. And, I like it.

This generation often gets a hard time. Despite being the largest demographic, this generation of 18-to-34-year-olds gives and volunteers less for charitable organizations than any other age group, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Or, so it may seem.

We might be evaluating the issue the wrong way.

With the holidays upon us, it’s a perfect time to look at how millennials are giving back. Although millennials might not be traditional, they are the immersed in a movement that is truly shifting the $241 billion market for charitable giving, sources say. Crowdfunding is changing charitable giving. Anyone or any organization can post a crowdfunding site to raise funds for disaster relief, individual medical support or anything in between. And, it works.

Millennials make up only 11 percent of traditional charitable giving but they make up roughly 33 percent of donations on cause-based crowdfunding sites, several articles say. The reason is simple. It fits the way they live. Based on M3 Group focus group research, millennials seek instant gratification. Crowdfunding shows results quickly. There’s no long-term waiting for the campaign to complete. A study by Blackbaud and Sea Change Research found millennials want two things when giving to charity: transparency and accountability. And, I would add immediate satisfaction.

Millennials are a little like me; they want the details. They like specifics about the people at the receiving end of the donation chain. According to many surveys, millennials view charitable organizations as big sprawling entities that give little information about what is going on. They want to see and hear their stories.

And while they may not necessarily be the most generous generation, millennials are largely driving the crowdfunding revolution and it’s making a difference. It is transforming the trillion-dollar global market for charitable giving by making it more in line with their demographic characteristics. They are in the moment, social, transparent and accessible.

I’m a proponent for supporting the small, lesser-known charitable organizations that really need the support. It’s also important to support organizations and causes that truly mean something to the individual. This generation is giving and volunteering for micro charitable organization. So, that’s not too bad for a generation supposedly boomeranging back home to live with mom and dad.


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