Giving Across Generations: Who’s Giving More? Who’s Giving Less? And Who Cares?

December 18, 2013 No Comments by Travis Jones

Giving Across Generations: Who’s Giving More? Who’s Giving Less? And Who Cares?Most pleas for charity center around phrases like, “It’s better to give than to receive”, but general appeals like these can assume that all givers are created equal. The various generations, for example, have very distinctive traits in the ways that they give and the reasons they do so. A summary of some recent research findings on the generations and their giving can be found here.

A main question guiding the research is, “between the older and younger generations, who gives more?” And the answer is, both. Older generations, like the Boomers, generally give more money than their younger counterparts. They generally give to more established organizations and give more than twice the amounts of Gen Y and Gen X combined. So why say they both give more?

Well, in another recent study, Gen Y and Gen Xers said they “planned to increase charitable giving the next 12 months”, a combined 40% compared to only 10% of Boomers who planned to do so. In fact, charitable giving and an interest in philanthropy is one of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation. So what is the generational divide?

Younger generations are more likely to look for companies who brand themselves as charitable, make purchases based on environmental impact, and utilize social media and crowd-funding in their charity efforts than older generations. However, older generations are more likely to give more money, use traditional giving methods, and have a longer sustained relationship with their charities.

So what does this mean for organizations? It means that companies must embrace the generational giving differences in order to create more effective charitable programs and efforts. If your workforce has generational diversity, you may consider offering various options for charitable giving and volunteering that more accurately speaks to your employee base:

  • Is it possible to have a mixed methods approach where the charitable desires of both younger and older generations are utilized?
  • Are marketing appeals for branding around charity taking into consideration the ways that both generations give, albeit in different ways?

These differences should be seen as challenges to be embraced. The news to be celebrated from this is that older and younger generations both give more, but in their respectively unique ways.

What kind of giver are you? In what ways does your organization allow for charitable giving? Tell us in the comments!

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