Peers Shape Millennials' Workplace Giving, Volunteering, Survey Finds

Millennials are significantly more likely to donate to a company-sponsored giving campaign or volunteer for an initiative if their co-workers participate, a report from Achieve and the Case Foundation finds.

Based on a survey of millennial employees (individuals born between 1980 and 2000) and the managers who supervise them, as well as a study of five companies, the 2015 Millennial Impact Report: Cause, Influence & the Next Generation Workforce (41 pages, PDF) found that, in 2014, 84 percent of millennial employees made a charitable donation, with 3 percent giving at least $5,000. And of those who gave, 22 percent said the donation was solicited through their company. According to the report, 48 percent of all millennial employees donated to a campaign promoted by their employer at some point, more than half (54 percent) of whom said that a supervisor or company representative asked them to give.

The survey also found  that co-workers wield more influence over millennials' giving and volunteering than do managers. For instance, 46 percent said they are more likely to make a donation if a co-worker asks them, while 27 percent said they would be more likely if their supervisor asked and only 21 percent if the CEO or another top executive asked. In addition, the report found that while 70 percent of millennial employees spent at least one hour volunteering in 2014, smaller percentages said they would be more likely to volunteer for a company initiative if their co-workers (65 percent) and supervisors (44 percent) participated.

By learning how to leverage peer influence to increase millennial employees' participation in cause-driven efforts and developing a workplace culture of giving and volunteering, the report suggests, management stands to benefit from greater employee satisfaction. Recommendations offered by the report include identifying which causes millennial employees care about most, offering short-term volunteer opportunities, introducing incentives and competitions around volunteering, and establishing matching-gift programs.

"Starting with the first Millennial Impact Report in 2009, the data has clearly shown that this generation is putting their idealism into action in meaningful ways in how they connect, give, and engage with causes they care about," said Case Foundation CEO Jean Case. "This year's report highlights the power of influence in the workplace and provides clear tips and recommendations for companies looking to more fully engage millennials in volunteerism and corporate giving campaigns."