Millennials Support Causes, Not Institutions, Survey Finds

Millennials — young men and women born between 1979 and 1994 — passionately support causes rather than the institutions working to address them; are highly selective about which organizations to follow on social media; and value the intrinsic benefits of volunteering such as networking and gaining professional expertise, a new report from Achieve and the Case Foundation finds.

Based on survey responses from more than twenty-six hundred individuals, the report, 2013 Millennial Impact Report (34 pages, PDF), found that 73 percent of millennials volunteered for a nonprofit organization in 2012. When asked about their motivations, 79 percent said they were passionate about the cause or issue, 67 percent felt they could make a difference for a cause they cared about, and 56 percent wanted to connect and network with like-minded people. The survey also found that in a crowded and noisy media landscape, 49 percent of millennials actively follow one to five nonprofits on social media, 80 percent like it best when nonprofits have mobile-friendly Web sites, and 59 percent like receiving news or action-oriented updates with links to more information and next steps.

Now in its fourth year, the annual survey also found that 84 percent of millennials prefer to give online and are most likely to donate when they feel inspired by the organization (69 percent) or when the organization provides specific examples of the impact the donation will have on its work (49 percent). And while millennials in general are not yet in a position to give large amounts, more than eight in ten (83 percent) made a donation in 2012, while 52 percent said they would consider signing up for a monthly giving program.

"Millennials are a little bit different in that they're much more focused on the cause and not the specific organization," Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, told the Nonprofit Quarterly. "From a strategy standpoint...it really should encourage collaboration....I think we saw a very clear message: the need for organizations and causes to be really authentic to drive action by millennials."

Aine Creedon. "An Interview With Jean Case on the 2013 Millennial Impact Report." Nonprofit Quarterly 07/18/2013. "2013 Millennial Impact Report." Achieve and Case Foundation Report 07/18/2013.