Category Archives: Media

Are Millennials Fundamentally Shifting the Values behind Philanthropy?

Are Millennials Fundamentally Shifting the Values behind Philanthropy?

Millennials have been making a lot of waves in philanthropy. Already poised to become the most generous generation in history, millennials approach giving in a way that differs fundamentally from that of previous generations. In the workplace, the tension between millennials and both Generation Xers and baby boomers has been significant in the last couple of decades; while older generations resent millennial attitudes about hierarchy, the younger generation has criticized the impact of Generation Xers and baby boomers on the economy and environment.

The Ways in Which Millennials Think and Give Differently

While the world still belongs largely to Generation Xers and baby boomers, the transition to millennials is occurring quickly, and it is important to understand what this change could mean for finance and philanthropy. After all, millennials have quite different ideas about money than prior generations.

According to Fidelity, every respondent to a questionnaire that it recently distributed to 4,000 people had donated at least $1,000 to charity the previous year. When those who had donated were asked whether they consider themselves to be philanthropists, only 35 percent of baby boomers and 48 percent of Generation Xers replied yes, whereas 74 percent of millennials answered affirmatively.

One interpretation of these results is that millennials are more conscientious about economic systems and the role that they play in them. As a result, they may be more organized in the ways in which they give with specific goals in mind. Moreover, millennials are likely influenced more by technology than any prior generation. Many of their economic decisions are based on social media campaigns, and they rely on digital platforms for a lot of their giving. In many ways, philanthropy is not its own silo for millennials, who think about giving via their hobbies, jobs, and shopping.

Nearly 90 percent of millennials say they want to work for a company that engages in corporate social responsibility. Moreover, 65 percent of millennial respondents to the Fidelity questionnaire say they prioritize purchases from socially responsible companies, and more than 40 percent of respondents had already engaged in impact investing, which has also gained momentum largely because of the millennial focus on generating wealth responsibly and using earnings to reinvest in the community. By comparison, only 12 percent of baby boomers had engaged in impact investing. For some philanthropy experts, all these figures indicate that charitable giving has transformed into charitable living for millennials. This new mindset will likely only gain more prominence as millennials become a stronger economic force.

How Surveys Can Point to Larger Shifts in Overall Mindset

Of course, one survey is insufficient for drawing sweeping conclusions, and the Fidelity study only looked at people with enough wealth to make significant philanthropic contributions. However, several other studies reflect a similar mindset. For example, according to a 2019 survey by Morgan Stanley, 95 percent of millennials stood behind sustainable investment, whereas only 85 of all investors surveyed supported such an investment strategy. According to another study by U.S. Trust, 76 percent of millennials think about impact when they invest compared to 29 percent of baby boomers, and according to an Allianz study, 64 percent of millennials make investment decisions based on values compared to 42 percent of baby boomers.

One interesting thing about these findings is that they do not necessarily align with what many would expect given current economic conditions. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, which exacerbated things, millennials experienced substantial economic insecurity, arguably more than any preceding generation in recent memory. It would therefore make sense for millennials to be more anxious about money than earlier generations, according to classical economic theory, and more focused on the maximization of wealth rather than social responsibility. Because of this, some Generation Xers and baby boomers may think that the shifts in thought are just a reflection of idealism, or even guilt, among younger people with wealth, but it is important that the phenomenon not be so easily dismissed.

The Economic Future under the Control of Millennials

The key thing to consider when it comes to millennials is that they will inherit trillions of dollars of wealth in the coming decades. When this happens, the inequality between millennials with family wealth and those without it will become even more apparent. The guilt associated with this disparity is likely to increase along with fear of a social backlash. These factors could put further pressure on the generation to retain current attitudes and maintain a focus on value-based investing. Industry experts also expect this shift to come with a greater focus on digital platforms, especially in terms of achieving greater company transparency.

The other point that this shift in attitude brings up is the fact that millennials in general seem to have less tunnel vision when talking about major concepts like politics, finance, and social issues. All of these concepts are interconnected in the minds of millennials, which is why charitable living – and not just giving – has become such an important mantra. This belief could drive much more conversation about impact investing and point to a future that is more focused on integrating philanthropy with efforts to make money rather than embracing the traditional model of making as much as possible and then giving a certain percentage back to the community.

The Potential for Big-Bet Philanthropy to Drive Social Change

The Potential for Big-Bet Philanthropy to Drive Social Change

Across the world, the number of billionaires has grown exponentially in the past few decades. In 1993, only about 300 people had hit the billionaire mark, but there are now more than 2,200 people worth at least a billion dollars. Collectively, their worth adds up to more than $9 trillion. One of the biggest effects… Continue Reading

This Is What You Need to Know about How Melinda Gates Is Inspiring Philanthropic Commitment to Women in Tech

This Is What You Need to Know about How Melinda Gates Is Inspiring Philanthropic Commitment to Women in Tech

Women are assuming larger roles in American philanthropy. Their efforts have drawn attention to other gender disparities in the United States. One of the topics that has received a lot of attention recently is gender diversity in the technology industry. Research has shown that only about 11 percent of senior technology leaders are women. Executives… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the Unique Charity of Kenneth Griffin

What You Need to Know about the Unique Charity of Kenneth Griffin

As the field of philanthropy continues to evolve at a rapid rate, some names are coming up more frequently in conversations, such as Barbara Dalio and Laurene Powell Jobs. Another donor who has been receiving a lot of attention is Kenneth Griffin, a hedge funder who has accrued $9 billion in wealth before turning 50.… Continue Reading

Laurene Powell Jobs and Her Innovative Approach to Philanthropy

Laurene Powell Jobs and Her Innovative Approach to Philanthropy

The landscape of philanthropy is changing rapidly with the growing popularity of charitable LLCs and crowdsourced support for causes. One of the drivers of this trend is Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. She has become one of the wealthiest women in the world with her net worth of about $20 billion. A… Continue Reading

Initiative Focuses on Investment in Public Spaces

Initiative Focuses on Investment in Public Spaces

Philanthropy has played a major role in reshaping public spaces across the country, ranging from parks to plazas. Expansions and improvements to these public spaces have had a positive impact on communities and larger cities, although historically not much work has been done to investigate its effects. However, a new initiative has been launched to… Continue Reading

Will We Soon See an Increase in the Number of Charitable LLCs?

Will We Soon See an Increase in the Number of Charitable LLCs?

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative made waves when it became a for-profit limited liability company (LLC) despite its philanthropic focus. The LLC structure does not come with the tax benefits that a foundation provides, but it does offer much more flexibility and privacy, which equates to control. Some industry professionals think that this strategy may become… Continue Reading