Freeloading, know-it-all, lazy, disrespectful—we’re not trying to remember how John Bender’s parents describe him in “The Breakfast Club.” (Please, we can quote the whole movie on demand.) Rather, we’re listing terms commonly associated with the elusive millennial.
The nonprofit world has been more open-minded than others, but the millennial remains a source of constant confusion and discussion—trying to determine the best way to solicit donations from the generation that is widely believed not to give. Some try to get in the millennial mindset, others try to take advantage of common characteristics, and still others suggest not worrying about younger donors and rather focusing on the older generation.
So are millennials the cause for concern that so many portray them to be? Maybe not.
Thrivent Financial’s 2015 Money Mindset Report, conducted by Wakefield Research, surveyed 1,001 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18 and older with several questions relating to generosity. While the perception in most circles may still be that millennials are lazy and never give, the findings of this report directly contradict those notions.
According to the report, 64 percent of all Americans regularly volunteer for a nonprofit. Millennials have donated to a nonprofit an average of eight times compared to the 12 average donations of the Baby Boomers, while 70 percent of millennials regularly volunteer compared to 61 percent of Baby Boomers. Additionally, 23 percent of both millennials and Baby Boomers responded they “never” donate to nonprofits.
These statistics put millennials and Baby Boomers in very close proximity to one another. So why be scared by the former?
Instead, think of how many donations your organization could miss out on by operating under the mistaken belief that lazy millennials are not apt to give. Now that’s something worth being afraid of.