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June 14, 2021
Report Says Millennials Will Transform Charitable Giving

May 15, 2021 — Millennial donors, those born between 1981 and 2000, are pushing philanthropy beyond its traditional boundaries via expectations and approaches to charitable giving that likely will revolutionize the social sector as they inherit trillions from their Baby Boomer parents, according to a recently published report.

According to the report on the future of philanthropy, based on a survey of 3,055 charitable donors conducted by Fidelity Charitable, a Boston-based nonprofit that is the nation’s largest grant maker:

  • Millennials are more likely than older generations to engage in newer methods of giving back, from impact investing to donating through a social media platform.

  • The younger generation is reclaiming the identity of “philanthropist” for themselves and other everyday individuals working to improve the world. Nearly three-quarters would describe themselves as a philanthropist, compared to only 35% of Baby Boomers and 48% of Gen X (those born from 1965 through 1980).

  • While donors overall are only somewhat optimistic that the world’s greatest challenges can be solved, Millennials display greater confidence. More than 40% of Millennials say they are optimistic, compared to 15% of Boomers and 22% of Gen X.

The survey found that the events of 2020 had at least a short-term impact on the way donors are currently thinking about and approaching giving.

According to the report, “After 2020, many donors reframed their thinking around which challenges are most important for society to solve, placing a higher priority on economic development, hunger, and racial inequity than they did previously.

“We became more and more comfortable with and reliant on virtual tools during the pandemic, and it may have accelerated digital trends in philanthropy. Significant numbers of donors say they increasingly used digital tools to participate in philanthropy in 2020.”

Not unexpectedly, technology is playing a growing role in the way individuals make charitable gifts. According to the report, one-quarter of donors have donated to charity through a social media platform, and four-in-ten have made donations through an online giving platform like GoFundMe.

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