Year-end Philanthropy and Millennials

Holiday_charity_givingIt’s the time of year. Everyone is asking you to give in support of their cause, and there are so many good ones! As a development professional I like to stay informed of the latest trends and I see two conversations happening within the millennial generation.

Conversation #1: “I don’t have any money to give.”

I firmly believe that how you spend your money is a very personal choice, so I am not here to tell you how. However, I am going to encourage you to find a way to give back.

I used to be part of this conversation. My take on the issue was that I gave so much of myself to the nonprofits that I work for that my money should be mine. At some point I realized that I couldn’t ask someone to make a significant gift to my organization if I wasn’t making a significant gift myself. It really does make a difference. The next step for me was realizing that by making giving back part of my lifestyle and budget, I could find ways to give more. Recurring donations opened this door for me; by giving a little every month, I could make a more significant contribution over time.

6a010535724f84970b01b7c70dff00970bConversation #2: Millennials like to invest.

The second part of the conversation is that millennials like to be involved. We’re asking more questions about how organizations spend their money before we give. For our generation, giving isn’t an obligation, it’s an emotional response.

Giving back isn’t all about money. Giving your time and your voice can be just as significant to an organization. Join a committee; get involved. It’s a great way to get to know an organization before you make a financial gift, and you might pick up some good ideas for your own role while you are at it!

So in the spirit of the year-end giving season, I hope you will all find a cause to support. Sacrificing a $5 cup of coffee each month can result in a $60 gift to a cause you really care about. Don’t underestimate what you can give!

Here are some great articles about millennials and philanthropy if you would like to dive deeper into the issue:


Ashley Hickman | Partnerships Chair | Mad Cow Theatre

Ashley Hickman | Partnerships Chair | Mad Cow Theatre

Authored By: Ashley Hickman; Partnerships Chair



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