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Survey of Millennial Donors Indicates They Will Likely Give More as They Mature

May 24, 2017

Millennials, the generation born from 1982 to 2000, show signs of taking up the mantle of charitable giving from older generations as they mature, according to a new study commissioned by Dunham+Company and conducted by Campbell Rinker.

Although Millennials give less than Gen Xers (1965-81), Baby Boomers (1946-64) and Matures (1945 or earlier), they closely reflect Gen Xers and Baby Boomers when it comes to volunteerism and attendance at religious services, two of the key indicators of a person's willingness to give to charity.

"With census data showing that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation, it's more important than ever that we understand their giving habits," said Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company, which consults with nonprofits on their fundraising and marketing needs.

"A growing body of research shows that Millennials are more engaged in philanthropy than we thought. Our new study seems to indicate that Millennials will give more to charity as they mature. Anecdotally, we know that factors like job status and student debt can limit how much they give at this stage of their lives."

Of those surveyed in the US:

  • Millennials gave $580 to charity in the past year, compared to $799 for Gen Xers, $1,365 for Baby Boomers and $1,093 for Matures;
  • Millennials averaged 40 volunteer hours over the past year, compared to 34 for Gen Xers, 41 for Baby Boomers and 70 for Matures; and
  • Twenty-five percent of Millennials attend church once a week or more, compared to 27 percent of Gen Xers, 28 percent of Baby Boomers and 36 percent of Matures.

Millennials surveyed gave an average of $416 to places of worship and $96 to faith-based nonprofits in the past year – compared to only $84 to education, their next biggest type of contribution. In addition, 22 percent of Millennials said they planned to give more to places of worship in the coming year.

Millennials agreed with the idea that charities are more effective than government in providing important services, with a mean score of 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 expressing the highest confidence in charities.

Not surprisingly, Millennials were more likely than other generations to use technology and be influenced by it. Fifty-one percent have given a gift through a charity's website, 37 percent said they have used a smartphone to give through a charity's website, and 36 have been motivated to give by something they have seen on a charity's website.

Surprisingly, Millennials were just as likely to respond to direct mail from charities as other generations. Half of Millennials said they expected to receive postal mail at least once a month from charities they support, and two-thirds said the same about e-mail. Eighty-one percent said a phone call at least once a year is appropriate.

"Millennial donors aren't who we thought they were," Dunham said. "Our research showed they are bullish on charities and are likely to give more to charities as they mature."

The study was conducted in November 2016 by Campbell Rinker as a 15-minute online survey of 1,391 U.S. donors who were screened to ensure they had given at least $20 to a charity in the past year.

For more information on the study, including the methodology and results from the United Kingdom and Australia, please visit http://www.dunhamandcompany.com.



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