Millennials and Baby Boomers: The Shifting Donor Landscape

Just as millennials represent a growing force within the American economy, they are also on track to becoming a significant outlet for philanthropic giving. Although millennials (ages 19 to 36) only account for 11% of total US giving, 84% of them donate to charity, with an average gift of $481. Conversely, 72% of baby boomers (ages 52 to 70) donate to charity, accounting for 43% of total giving with an average of $1,212. While millennial giving is significantly lower than boomers’, their high rate of participation is a strong indicator of future involvement.

Last week Fidelity Charitable published an extensive report on individual giving trends in the United States, surveying over 3,000 participants based upon their 2015 tax returns. Their findings provide several key insights into generational shifts within philanthropy:

Millennials are more likely than boomers to consider nonprofits’ effectiveness when choosing to give
Millennials are more likely to prioritize international issues than boomers (47% vs. 36%)
Millennials are twice as likely to give spontaneously compared to boomers (56% vs. 28%)
Millennials are more likely to believe that the private sector should be involved in addressing societal challenges (32% vs. 25%)
Millennials are more optimistic about the impact of philanthropy
Millennials are more likely to donate via technology

Both millennials and boomers tend to prioritize the same social issues: access to basic health services, developing treatment or cures for disease, and access to food.

Read more at Fidelity Charitable, MobileCause, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.