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Charitable Giving Habits by Generation

Millennials are most likely to donate via mobile phones

Across all generations, charitable giving is increasing. According to Giving USA’s recent study, charitable giving increased nearly three percent overall from 2015 to 2016, and giving by individuals (not corporations or foundations) increased by four percent, for a whopping total of $281.86 billion!

What is the Generational Breakdown?

According to another study from Blackbaud, Traditionalists gave the most, with 88% of the generation making some sort of charitable contribution, averaging $1,367 per year to 6.2 charities. Most gave money to places of worship (50%) and local social services (55%), as well as donated goods to charities (72%).

While a high percentage of Traditionalists gave to charity, the study found that Baby Boomers represented the highest percentage of giving overall. Boomers represented 43% of all total charitable giving in 2016, with 72% of the generation giving an average of $1,212 across 4.5 charities. Many Boomers made donations through their workplace (46%), and gave as a response to direct mail solicitations (40%).

Interestingly, Boomers are also most likely to make a recurring donation, with 21% making a monthly pledge!

Generation X and Millennials both have significant online interactions with the charities they contribute to, with 46% of Gen X and 56% of Millennials viewing videos online about the charities they support. These generations also like to post about the charities they support – 25% of Gen X and 50% of Millennials (!) share information via Facebook on the charities they support.

Millennials are by far the most likely generation to consider making a donation on their mobile phones, with 60% saying they would do so. They are also most likely to give through a retail purchase (53%), meaning shopping at places like Tom’s Shoes and Warby Parker that give back for every purchase made.

Though Millennials represented only 11% of total charitable giving in 2016, they are certainly the most vocal about their giving, and as they continue to accumulate wealth, this giving will likely increase.

The most interesting thing to see is the impact that Gen Z will have on the charitable giving landscape. One thing is for sure: donations on mobile phones and social media are not going away anytime soon.

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