Millennials are categorized as persons born between 1981 and 1995, while Generation Z (Gen Z) are those born between 1996 and 2014. They are considered to be the most technologically advanced generation.
Millennials and Gen Z grew up in a world where the internet and the use of smartphones were part of everyday life. They have witnessed global issues ranging from economic downturns, domestic and international safety concerns, gender inequality, racial injustice, and climate change, among others. These experiences have shaped who they are, what they believe in, and what they are passionate about, which has, in turn, influenced the change they want to see in the world. Hence, Gen Z and Millennials see philanthropy as one of their top ways of giving back and making an impact.
Millennials and Gen Z Impact-Oriented Initiatives
Even though donors have different giving orientations and strategies, Millennials and Gen Z want to be heard and feel that their ideas and solutions to problems have merit. They feel responsible for finding solutions to global problems and want to make an immediate impact in their daily lives and on a larger scale.
Millennials and Gen Z always want to see an impact through the philanthropic initiatives they support and desire to be included in programs that resonates with their experiences. They believe in the power of collective change by engaging their peers through events, either in-person or virtual, to experience the mission in action.
Millennials and Gen Z have experienced and witnessed unprecedented levels of need and have doubled down in their philanthropic support of mission-based work. Research conducted recently found that more people under 30 were giving back in creative ways during the COVD-19 pandemic, such as ordering take-out from a local restaurant to help it stay in business or paying their stylist at a time when they couldn’t get a haircut. There has also been a rise in informal mutual-aid networks.
Millennials and Gen Z have also expanded the way in which they approach philanthropy from straightforward monetary donations to also uniquely, and more directly, engaging the community.
Seeking A More Equitable Future
Millennials and Gen Z direct their funds to organizations focused on issues central to economic inequality, food and healthcare funds seeking to combat the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on poor communities, supporting entrepreneurial initiatives, women and small scale businesses. In seeking to create quantifiable change, they also increased their attention to philanthropic initiatives addressing the root causes of societal problems. As young professionals began to deploy their philanthropic funds more strategically, they also became more aware of the diverse makeup, or lack thereof, of the demographic population and leadership at the causes they choose to support.
Giving to Multiple Causes: Donation-Based Crowdfunding
While crowdfunding is not a new practice, it has recently gained traction and has been proven as a highly effective tool for fundraising. As recorded, the percentage of Millennials and Gen Z who have given to crowdfunding campaigns rose from 17% in 2013 to 48% in 2018. There has been an increase in donation-based crowdfunding because it allows individuals to directly support causes they care about and engage their friends and family to do so as well.
Through crowdfunding platforms Millennials and Gen Z have found a way to prioritize the immediate need of their community by giving collectively, engaging their peers, and making a large impact regardless of their gift size.
The Great Wealth Transfer
Globally, with Nigeria not isolated, it is estimated that over the next two (2) decades assets worth trillions of dollars will pass from earlier generation to the next, termed the ‘great wealth transfer’. Specifically this will see Baby Boomers (ages 57-75) pass the mantle and their money to a lucky few millennials. Given that this transfer is currently underway, it is important to take cognisance of the philanthropic philosophy of the Millennials and Gen Z which are markedly different from their parents or grandparents. An appreciation of this would enable harmony and goodwill to be enhanced in wealthy and privileged families especially when Millennials and Gen Z heirs are headlining their philanthropic activities.
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