[MCON 2015] Millennials More Likely to Donate, Volunteer When Recruited by Peers vs. Bosses

Millennials are the people that make cool.

They are largely the demographic that determines the latest trends in culture, technology and everyday life. However, millennials don’t operate in a vacuum. They are influenced by their managers, peers and work environment to get involved. As more millennials search for a purpose in their everyday work, their social impact doesn’t exist just in their hobbies and spare time.

In the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, which was released Tuesday by Achieve and The Case Foundation, details were released about who specifically impacts millennials. The report examined different ways millennials are impacted through three areas: give, influence and inspire.


Millennials give. According the the research, 84 percent of the millennials surveyed made a charitable donation in 2014. Of that group, 22 percent donated in a company-sponsored giving program, where their company partnered with a charity to raise money (i.e. United Way). A step up the ladder, millennial managers donate at a higher clip with 92 percent of those people surveyed making a charitable donation in 2014.

While the participation numbers are impressive, the amount of the donations still lag behind older generations. Above the $100-$249 level, the older managers give more, while the millennials have larger percentages below $100.

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Image from 2015 The Millennial Impact Report

Part of that difference might be explained by the pay gap between managers and employees. When comparing millennial managers to non-millennials, the millennial managers have the pay advantage.

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Image from 2015 The Millennial Impact Report


Beyond making donations, millennials are also getting out and making a difference in their communities with their time. In 2014, two-thirds of millennial respondents said they volunteered at least an hour.

For many their volunteer time comes through work, as 45 percent of millennials polled participated in a company-wide volunteer program. The most popular reason for participating in volunteer days was their passion or interest in the cause (29 percent). Others said they liked to volunteer because they could use their skills to benefit a cause (25). Finally, encouragement from a coworker (14) and recognition, bonuses or other incentives (8) also helped get people to volunteer. Others spend their own time to volunteer as 32 percent use paid time off to volunteer and 16 percent use unpaid time off to volunteer.

Comparing millennial managers to non-millennial managers, more millennials volunteer time and they also donated more time as 35 percent volunteered at least 26 hours during 2014, compared to just 18 percent for non-millennial managers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 11.56.08 AM.png
Image from 2015 The Millennial Impact Report


The numbers above examine what happens after millennials choose to donate or volunteer, but how do millennials get to that point?

Almost half of millennials (46 percent) said they are more likely to make a donation to a cause if a coworker asks them. Compare that to just 27 percent who said they would donate to a cause if their supervisor does and just 21 percent if that encouragement comes from the CEO or top-level executive.

The highest level of involvement comes when the company offers to match at least a portion of their donation. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of millennial employees said they would make a donation if at least part of their gift was matched.

When a company-backed giving program is involved the numbers change slightly. The most prominent reason millennials donated was they were passionate about the cause or issue. Only 16 percent said they gave because a supervisor encouraged them to donate, while 13 percent participated because the campaign involved a competition or matched-giving.

What Does It Mean?

As nonprofits, why should you care about the behaviors of millennials; especially millennials who work in the for-profit world? If you better understand the next generation of decision makers, then you can better engage them to donate or volunteer with your organization. It’s important to promote your mission and help people find their passion with their service.

Nonprofits can also better focus their campaigns. Work with companies to engage in a company-sponsored fundraising campaign. Rather than engage a company in a straight-sponsorship, work with them to fund a matching program to help not only receive money from the corporate sponsors, but also from individual employees. This program might work better with companies based in your community rather than national brands.

Also, nonprofits can focus on peer-to-peer recruitment of donors and volunteers. By providing a great experience and value to people involved with your nonprofit will enhance your brand and also mobilize a bigger army of recruiters for your nonprofit.

These examples are only just a glimpse into the information collected by the Millennial Impact Report. Dive into the full report to figure out how your nonprofit can better understand and engage millennials here.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our MCON coverage:


Lincoln Arneal

Lincoln Arneal was a Senior Editor at Nonprofit Hub who brought loads of real-world nonprofit experience to the team. He was the past executive director of a nonprofit that provided leadership development to junior high and high school students. He looked to bring the insights from his time forming, developing, and running a nonprofit to help others in their quest to do good. Lincoln also had a legal background and had written for various newspapers (covering high school sports) for the past 15 years. He could be followed on Twitter at @NPLNK.

June 24, 2015

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