Giving by Generations

3 min read

Giving by generations

How Different Generations Give

Generations have different ways of engaging in philanthropy. There are five major generations, each with distinctive characteristics produced by the circumstances and culture of the time. Each has different values, motivations and preferences.

Let’s discover the nuances and how each can contribute meaningful charity contributions.

Matures generation giving

Matures (1920- 1940s)

Many lived through the Great Depression and war and have known sacrifice. They have worked hard and have an appreciation for simple things in life.

Matures often give to philanthropic causes they have personally touched through lived experience. They tend to support their chosen place of worship, local social services, troops/veterans, and emergency relief efforts. They are loyal to the causes they support.

Baby Boomer giving

Baby Boomers (1950– 1964)

Having experienced many historical events, this post-war generation tends to feel responsible for giving back to society. Consequently, they have significantly impacted the charitable sector, considered the most charitable of generations, responsible for 43% of total giving within the United States. They often prefer to support traditional, well-established organizations with a proven track record of impact on charitable causes close to their hearts.

Generation X giving

Generation X (1965-1980)

This generation has experienced the most technological transitions of any generation. Along with 80s and 90s economic booms and crashes, in addition to the breakdown of the traditional nuclear family unit, these experiences have made them the most adaptable generation. However, these things have shaped a distrust of institutions and systems. Gen X donors will give to organizations when they fully trust the sponsor’s philanthropy, focusing their giving on a narrow set of causes and prefer well-established nonprofits.

Millennial giving

Millennials (1981 – mid 1990s)

Millennials have the highest potential to give as they are already the largest generation on the job market with disposable incomes. Most of this generation believe they can make a positive difference because their Baby Boomer parents taught them to seek purpose in their actions. Millennials are highly engaged online and want to feel connected to causes they care about. According to Fidelity Charitable research, more than 80% of Millennial-owned businesses have at least one corporate giving program and pledge a position of their profits to charity.

Gen Z giving

Gen Z (1997 –2010s)

Known as “digital natives”, the focal points for this latest generation are around experiencing quick and tangible impact. They prefer to support decentralized, grassroots organizations easily accessible through social media channels.

They value more hands-on approaches to charity through advocacy, volunteering or crowdfunding, using their social media platforms to raise awareness on persistent social issues. They like to merge empathy with tech to create a powerful source for good.

Undoubtedly, we will continue to see charitable giving evolve and how philanthropy will shape according to those trends. Each generation can leave a powerful legacy of generosity and positively influence the upcoming generations.

See our latest projects HERE