How Millennials View Making a Difference

Millennials aren’t working, marrying, or giving in the same way as their parents. They are tolerant, educated, enterprising, and hyphenated. And, according to a new report they are more motivated by their peers than their boss.

The 2015 Millennial Impact Report studied why and how the 30 million young adults born in the last twenty years of the last century give and volunteer and the extent to which that is influenced by their employer. The Case Foundation sponsored study surveyed 1,584 millennial and 1,004 managers.

The report identified seven findings:

  • Millennials utilize peers to identify cause work: 27% of Millennial employees said they are more likely to donate to a cause if their supervisor does while 46% of employees are likely to donate if a coworker asks them to.
  • Offer short-term skill-based volunteer opportunities: millennials are more likely to volunteer if they can leverage their skills or expertise. Companies could incorporate skills-based volunteering to increase participation and maximize the value of the volunteer experience.
  • Leverage competitions and incentives: cultivating a sense of competition around a giving campaign or volunteer project through promotions will increase involvement. Tangible incentives such as name recognition, prizes and additional time off will encourage Millennial employees to participate.
  • Show how participation makes a difference: millennials want to know that their involvement means something. In this study, 79% of Millennial employees who volunteered through a company-sponsored initiative felt they made a positive difference.
  • Match donations: matching motivates both managers and millennials to give.
  • Identify causes employees care about: millennials will give to causes they care about. Ask them what they care about.
  • Encourage unsanctioned giving: more than half of millennial have made a donation to a cause their company isn’t associated with in response to a co-worker’s personal solicitation.

And only 11% of millennials had donations deducted from their paychecks — a standard method of giving for older generations.

“The old-style top-down strategies and campaigns for charitable giving coming from the CEO just don’t resonate with this generation,” said Jean Case, the CEO of the Case Foundation.

Companies should listen to employees, according to the report, not just senior managers when developing an impact agenda. “Learning how to leverage this peer influence will increase participation in cause work, and management will benefit from increased employee satisfaction,” concludes the report.

This is the sixth year of the studying how the millennial generation connects with and supports causes. Achieve, a division of Forte Interactive, conducts the research.

The report focused on big commercial enterprises rather than smaller impact-focused organizations which have a clear advantage at inspiring passion for cause work. Whether identified by listening or mission-central, unlocking passion is key to supporting a happier, more engaged, more fulfilled next generation workforce.

About “GenDIY”
Young people are taking control of their own pathway to careers, college and contribution. Powered by digital learning, “GenDIY” is combatting unemployment and the rising costs of earning a degree by seeking alternative pathways to find or create jobs they love. Follow their stories here and on Twitter at #GenDIY. For more on GenDIY, check out:




Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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