What Nonprofits Need to Know About Millennials

Changing demographics are one of the largest trends affecting nonprofits today. Namely, the emergence of millennials as nonprofit donors, volunteers, employees, and leaders.

In order to build the capacity of organizations to understand and benefit from these changes, The Forbes Funds provides a number of opportunities and resources. Below, we've summarized the research results of The Millennial Impact Study. Conducted annually by Achieve in partnership with the Case Foundation, their work includes five separate studies representing interviews of more than 10,000 millennials and/or their employers. What follows is a summary of the most relevant facts revealed by the research.  

The Millennial Impact Project: Highlights

When engaging with nonprofits, millennials are solution-oriented and generally divide in two extremes: some do not volunteer or donate at all, but those who do, are likely to do so substantially.

When volunteering,

  • Millennials consider networking (51 percent) and gaining professional experience (61 percent) to be among the most important benefits to volunteering.
  • Their biggest frustrations are “not having much to do while volunteering and having their time wasted” at 69 percent.
  • They value getting to know organizations’ staff:  “I would volunteer a lot more if it meant I was able to connect with higher up staff members in the organization. Often, though, you don’t meet anymore except the volunteer coordinator.”

When donating,

  • Ninety-three percent of millennials surveyed gave to nonprofit organizations in the past year; most of the donations were in small increments to many organizations.
  • They are most likely to donate when they fully trust an organization (84 percent) and would stop donating if they don’t trust the organization (90).
  • They value impact; 78 percent are likely to stop donating if they don’t know how their donation is making a difference.
  • Cause is the strongest motivating factor for millennial giving; 85 percent are motivated by a compelling mission or cause.

For employers,

  • Donation matching is one of the most effective motivations for giving, with 72 percent saying they would likely give if their employer matched at least some of their gift.
  • The number one cause-related program millennial employees want to see more of is company-wide volunteer opportunities.
  • When interviewing, 55 percent of millennials said a company’s involvement with causes helped persuade them to take the job.

For nonprofits,

  • When on an organization’s website, nearly 90 percent of millennials first look at the mission.
  • The biggest turnoff (75 percent) was information that had not been recently updated.
  • A full 70 percent of millennials surveyed made their donations via the organization’s webpage.
  • Ninety-three percent prefer email when receiving information from organizations.
  • It is important that communication is specific: “I want to know exactly what I will be doing as a volunteer, or donating to…Organizations need to be clear about what the organization is about and how [this] ties into it.”
  • Emails should be sent sparingly; 72 percent of respondents said they are frustrated with the high volume of emails they receive from organizations they support.

Interested in learning more? Check out the links above for more research and connect with The Forbes Funds for local opportunities around this important topic. 

Unless otherwiese noted, all statistics and quotes are from the “Top 100 Finding From The Millennial Impact Project” which is available here