February 1, 2015

Trust key to giving by ‘Millennial’ donors

1 comment

Millennial donors

Millennial donors

Donors in the U.S. ages 20 to 35 prefer to give to organizations they trust, are motivated to give by a compelling mission or cause, and prefer to give online, a new study says.

Among nearly 3,000 "Millennial"-generation donors that age who responded to a survey by Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, 93 percent gave to nonprofits in 2010, with 10 percent giving $1,000 or more.

The bulk of giving by Millennials was distributed in small amounts to many organizations, with the single largest gift from 58 percent of respondents totaling less than $150.

"The majority of Millennials we heard from not only give generously, but they spread their giving around, with the majority giving to three or organizations," Ted Grossnickle, CEO of Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, says in a statement.

And those who donated the most also volunteered the most.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said they are most likely to give when they fully trust an organization, and 90 percent said they would stop giving if they do not trust an organization.

Eighty-five percent are motivated to give by a compelling mission or cause, and 56 percent are motivated by a personal connection or trust in the organization's leadership, while 2 percent were motivated to give by celebrity endorsements.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents volunteered for organizations in 2010, with 85 percent of those who did not volunteering citing lack of time as the main hurdle to volunteering, and 45 percent of the non-volunteers saying they were not asked to volunteer.

Fifty-seven percent of Millennials gave in response to a personal ask, and 49 percent gave online, although 58 percent said they prefer to give online, while 48 percent said they prefer to give in response to personal requests.

Comment on this article


There is a wealth of great information here. But I want to register a few cautions.

Caution #1. There is incalculable non-reponse bias in any research when participation is voluntary. So it would be wrong to suggest these findings can be projected to all millennials. The findings should be -- and have huge value being -- taken as representative of a group 93% of which are donors, since the greatest value in the findings is in the responses of those who did, in fact, give in 2010.

Caution #2. "How did you make your donation?" is a very good question for finding out what media donors tend to use. It does not tell you what meda persuaded them to give. That requires another question. And one would have to bear in mind the relative likelihood of optional media reaching the target group. For example, iorganizations are not very likely to solicit millennials by mail because their names and addresses aren't available to them. Same with e-mail.

Caution #3. Similarly, "How would you prefer to nake a donation...?" is a very good question for finding out what media people are likely to choose to fulfill their giving. It does not say how they prefer to be solicited. That also requires another question.

Perhaops these two additional questions can be added in the future.

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