“Millennial donors aren’t who we thought they were,” Rich Dunham said in a statement introducing a new study by Dunham + Company, a consultant to nonprofits.
“Our research showed they are bullish on charities and are likely to give more to charities as they mature.”
On one measure, the study found that millennials lag their older counterparts. In the past year, millennial donors reported giving $580 to charity, compared with Gen Xers, $799; baby boomers, $1,365; and matures (born in 1945 or earlier), $1,093.
“Anecdotally, we know that factors like job status and student debt can limit how much [millennials] give at this stage of their lives,” Dunham said.
At the same time, however, millennials closely reflected their elders in their volunteerism and attendance at religious services, two key indicators of a person’s willingness to give to charity, according to the study.
Millennials averaged 40 volunteer hours over the past year, compared with 34 hours for Gen Xers and 41 for boomers. Matures outdid everyone, volunteering 70 hours.
Twenty-five percent of millennials said they attended church once a week or more, compared with 27% for Gen Xers, 28% for boomers and 36% for matures.
Millennials in the survey gave an average of $416 to places of worship and $96 to faith-based nonprofits in the past year, but only $84 to education, their next biggest type of contribution.
In addition, 22% of millennials said they planned to give more to places of worship in the coming year.
This youngest donor cohort agreed with the view that charities are more effective than government in providing important services, with a mean score of 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 expressing the highest confidence in charities.