As they get older, millennials are showing signs of being as charitable as older generations, a new study commissioned by consulting firm Dunham+Company and conducted by Campbell Rinker finds.
Based on surveys conducted in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the report, Millennial Donors: They're Not Who You Think They Are, found that millennials — defined for purposes of the study as those born between 1982 and 2000 — currently give less than older donors. In the past year, for example, American millennials gave $580 to charity on average, compared with $799 by Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1982), $1,365 by boomers (1946-64), and $1,093 by Matures (1945 or earlier).
At the same time, the survey found that, in the U.S., millennials were similar to Gen Xers and boomers in two key respects, both of them indicators of an individual's propensity to give — commitment to volunteering and regular attendance at religious services. According to the study, American millennials reported volunteering, on average, forty hours over the past year, more than the thirty-four hours volunteered by Gen Xers and just under boomers' forty-one hours, while 25 percent reported attending religious services at least once a week, about the same as Gen Xers (27 percent) and boomers (28 percent). The study also found that 71 percent of U.S. millennials said they planned to give to a church or other place of worship in the coming year, while 22 percent planned to boost their giving in the coming year.
"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. "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."