Millennials and Philanthropy

Matthew Gorelik - Millennials and Philanthropy.png

Originally published on

Millennials are changing everything. That seems to be the consensus amongst the generations that came before them. What’s up for debate, however, is whether the impact of these changes is ultimately positive or negative.

Now, I’m not well-versed in all of the millennial initiatives, nor do I wish to comment on any of the more controversial topics. What I do know about, and consequently what I’d like to discuss, is the millennial impact on philanthropy. This generation is almost certainly the catalyst for several positive transformations on the horizon. Here’s why.

Corporate Philanthropy

If there’s one thing we know about millennials thus far, it’s that they love to support a cause. It’s a concept that’s simple enough, and it’s one that they’ve carried with them across traditional philanthropic boundaries. It is no longer enough to be charitable on one’s own time. Now, many millennials are actively seeking career opportunities that allow them to make a difference.

Fortunately, many of them also realize that it is impossible for 100% of people to obtain a position saving the world. To help compensate for this fact, millennials have developed a special kind of brand consciousness. They are researching their future employers to determine profit allocation and demanding to know company stances on critical social issues.

Companies everywhere are responding in turn. They are developing and documenting corporate strategies and initiatives that address philanthropic topics. They are exhibiting a brand new level of transparency in an effort to attract millennial employees and consumers alike.

Philanthropic Ability

The number of millennials in the workforce is going to increase. In fact, “Millennials will be the largest demographic in the American workforce by 2020.” Why is this important? Essentially it is going to shift the income status quo.

An already socially conscious generation is going to have the opportunity to step into positions vacated by retirees. These positions (ideally) come with better pay, better benefits, and an entirely new level of stability for a population in desperate want of just that. Experts predict that, as the generation finds their footing, they are likely to contribute to the causes they care about.

The Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report claims that “In 2014, 84 percent of millennial employees gave to charity and 70 percent of them donated more than an hour to a charitable cause.” These percentages are uniquely high considering the low wages and student loan debt plaguing these individuals. We can only expect that as their wages increase and their debt dwindles, contribution and volunteering percentages will rise.