Millennials Are Giving to Charities with Plans to Do More

June 9, 2019 — Nonprofits concerned about the future of fundraising may take heart from a recent analysis that found Millennial entrepreneurs are the most highly engaged and committed to philanthropy, compared with their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts, with nearly half saying charitable giving is a critical piece of who they are.

According to findings developed from Entrepreneurs as Philanthropists, produced by Fidelity Charitable, Millennials, born 1980”“2000, are more likely to value charitable giving opportunities that help them learn, grow, or expand their sphere of influence:
  • 60% of Millennial business owners gave $10,000 or more to charity in 2017, compared to 43% of Gen X and 42% of Boomers.

  • 90% of Millennial value charities with meaningful volunteer opportunities, and more than half say that volunteering is a chance to learn new skills relevant to their profession, compared to a third of Gen X and only 20% of Boomers.

  • 93% of Millennials reported they spent time volunteering in 2017, compared to 74% of Boomers

  • Younger entrepreneurs see charitable giving as a way to build their reputation, with 84% saying they value giving as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the community.

    74% percent value having their contributions recognized publicly, compared to only 19% of Boomers.

  • 85% of Millennial-owned businesses have at least one corporate giving program—like employee giving and volunteer programs or a pledge to give a portion of profits to charity—compared to 58% of Gen X and 40% of Boomers.

  • Millennial business owners are already planning their charitable legacies. Nearly two-thirds plan to leave money to charity after they’re gone, versus 46% of Boomers.
In contrast, Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, born 1946”“1964, tend to be more established, and they are more likely than other generations of entrepreneurs to have founded only one business, according to the report.

"This focused and deliberate approach to business is reflected in their charitable giving decisions," the report notes. "They prefer to give in traditional ways to well-established nonprofits, and they don’t feel the need to be personally involved in the organization or to make decisions for how the money is used. They trust the organizations they support to use their donations well."

More than 80% of Baby Boomer business owners prefer to give to smaller nonprofits where they know their dollars will have a big impact. And 66% of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs give to a limited number of specific causes, displaying a more focused approach to their philanthropic efforts compared to the 57% of Millennials who support a wide variety of causes

Sandwiched between Millennials and Boomers, Gen X entrepreneurs, born 1965”“1979, also fall in the middle of most attributes measured in this analysis, sharing characteristics with both adjacent generations:

Gen X entrepreneurs are focused on their local communities. Ninety percent value charities that benefit the area where they live, compared to 79% of Boomers.

Similar to Boomers, Gen X entrepreneurs tend to focus their giving on a narrow set of causes and prefer to support well-established nonprofits. However, more closely aligned with Millennials, Gen X likes to be hands-on, with 61% preferring to be personally involved with the charities they support.