Millennials Are Changing Philanthropy

Everywhere you look, people are talking about “Millennials”—the generation of Americans born roughly between 1980 and 2000 that grew up in a largely digital world. All too often, out-of-touch Baby Boomers unjustly criticize Millennials. Older generations tend to stereotype Millennials as being “anti-social,” “lazy,” and “entitled.”

Once in a while though, somebody says something positive about Millennials. Such is the case with The New York Times, a publication that has seen it’s fair share of Millennial bashing. The New York Times recently wrote a piece about how Millennials are changing the world of philanthropy.

The gist of the article is that Millennials don’t give in the same way that their parents and grandparents did. While they’re just as likely to volunteer and donate, they’re also willing to leverage their social networks. Millennials use their personal connections to help draw support for the causes they care about.

Millennials have also proven to be more concerned with causes rather than organizations. As such, Millennials often demand that groups to which they donate to operate with full-blown transparency. Millennials are very picky when it comes to how much of a donation goes towards helping people and how much goes towards administrative costs. Millennials value nonprofits that put the majority of their donations towards their mission rather than managerial costs.

They also want to see how their gifts are impacting people, whether that’s by hearing about the specific people they are helping, or through more broad terms, like frequent updates from the organization on how their gifts are being put into action. The days of writing a check or plunking money into a jar and then forgetting about it are over. Millennials are deeply connected with one another and the world around them, and they want to be connected to their charitable efforts as well.