Here’s Why Millennials are Driving the Volunteer Industry

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Millennials have gained a bad reputation these last few years. They are often regarded as narcissistic, entitled, and lacking in empathy. But recent studies suggest that these impressions may be wrong.

The Millennial Impact Report, which surveyed over 2,500 Generation Y employees and managers, revealed that this demographic put in more volunteer hours and made more donations than other age groups. Seventy percent of millennials regularly volunteer, which is higher compared to 61 percent of baby boomers and 63 percent of Gen X who join volunteer efforts.

What’s driving them to become more philanthropic than other generations?

Millennials are More Generous than You Thought

The report found that millennials are choosing to donate to causes they believe in, despite their high levels of student loans, having to navigate a tough job market, and not having the financial stability for big purchases, like homes, weddings, and cars.

Although previous generations also contributed to donations and volunteer projects, they mostly did these through their companies. The older generations’ standard way of giving is by having their contributions deducted from their paychecks. On the other hand, millennials are more driven by their personal beliefs. They may not always join the philanthropic efforts in the workplace, but only because they prefer to personally search for causes that resonate with them.

Volunteer work for cancer patients and survivors, raising awareness for certain diseases, rural medical volunteering, and other healthcare issues are some of the popular causes with millennials. This generation also engages in environmental and educational causes.

And millennials don’t only give more, they also give differently. Boomers and Gen X tend to see their personal, philanthropic, and professional lives as separate, whereas millennials try to integrate all these into their lifestyle. For example, a boomer may donate more to an environmental charity whereas a Gen Y will donate less while trying to switch to sustainable practices.

Purpose Over Paychecks


Millennials are also more purpose-driven, which reflects on their philanthropic efforts. The Millennial Impact Report says that people from this demographic are more likely to volunteer if they can use their skills to help a cause. Also, they’re likely to continue supporting a certain issue if they see that their efforts are making a difference. Millennials are constantly looking for activities that can make them feel like they’re effecting positive change, which is also apparent in how they search for jobs.

Sixty-two percent of American millennials think they can positively impact their communities, and 40 percent believe they can make a difference on a global level. This is why they integrate their passions and principles in everything they do. Apart from volunteer opportunities, this young generation’s proclivity for social issues leads them to nonprofit work because they care more about jobs that can give them a sense of fulfillment instead of high paychecks.

Volunteer and nonprofit organizations can benefit from these findings the most. Knowing that this age group is more inclined to participate in volunteer causes can help them craft better strategies in looking for more people to join their group.

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