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Millennials and Social Responsibility

What causes do Millennials most care about? How do Millennials hope and plan to donate their time and money? What is the best way to drive Millennial donations? In the past, Buzz Marketing Group has provided plenty of insights and tips on how any brand can reach Millennials – but this month, we are focusing specifically on the charities and non-profits that are strategically trying to learn more about Millennials and ultimately capture their loyalty and attention.
After surveying our network of over 37,000 buzzSpotters all across the country, here is what we have found:
1. The majority of Millennials support causes and charities regularly on a local level, even though only a minority has directly benefitted from a charity or non-profit organization.
An incredible two-thirds (67%) of respondents revealed that they support a cause or charity through financial donations, while 63% support a cause or charity by donating their time to the effort. Common activities include annual holiday food drives (61%), blood donations (47%), and meal preparation and service (29%).
Over half (55%) support causes with their time or money regularly throughout the year, while one third (33%) contribute their support after a tragedy or natural disaster, and 37% contribute “periodically.” Of those who choose to support specific causes, 91% contribute to their local community, while 40% contribute nationally, 17% contribute internationally, and 36% contribute to an online community.
However, less than a third (32%) has ever benefitted personally from a charity or non-profit organization and only 42% has had a friend or family member that benefitted directly from the work of a charity or non-profit.  Of those, only 16% support charities because they have benefitted from similar organizations in the past.
2. Personal satisfaction matters to Millennials’ social responsibility habits, but it is often outweighed by other motivations and considerations.
Millennials are often chastised for being more self-centered than other demographics, so we tried to determine whether their selflessness was actually a result of selfishness. 57% of respondents admitted that personal satisfaction is a key reason as to why they support causes and charities with their time and money; however, other motivations came out on top. More common motivations include “to help those in need by doing something useful” (78%), “to contribute to something bigger than what I could do myself” (66%), and “to give back to my community” (66%). Less common motivations were more self-centered, such as “to develop and grow as a person” (48%), “to make social connections” (22%), and “to take my mind off of my own problems and help others” (19%).
3. Millennials are interested in a variety of different causes.
Our respondents’ interests span a wide range of matters, but accessible and affordable education came out on top with 50% support. Other top contenders include: environmental protection (43%), human welfare services (42%), public affairs and civil rights (42%), accessible and affordable health care (40%), and equality between men and women (36%).
Interests also varied based on the level of impact, from personal to international. On a personal level, almost half (49%) of respondents hope for an improvement of job opportunities. At that level, Millennials are also concerned about health care (46%), gender equality (43%), protection against crime and violence (43%), and education (42%).
On the local level, almost 6 out of 10 respondents support economic and community development (59%). They also listed small business growth (51%), arts and culture development and preservation (50%), protection against crime and violence (48%), and job opportunities (46%) as local community concerns. Interestingly, on both the national and international levels, Millennials’ top concerns are protection against crime and violence (60% and 85%, respectively), with more consensus on the international level.