Millennials Giving to Charity

Charitable giving is being reshaped and millennials are now leading the charge.  In a recent NPR blog, Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of Charity: Water, mentions that this change comes from a previous stance of “I don’t know where my money is going.”  Before founding the organization, Harrison was working in New York promoting a models and bottles style service.  He realized that, if he continued, his legacy would only reflect that he got people drunk.  But a trip to Liberia changed his life forever.  After a short time in the country he saw children drinking out of murky water that Harrison said he wouldn’t even let his dog drink from.  He knew there was a massive problem and he had to do something about it.

davidmantek_waterHe started Charity: Water with the goal to provide clean drinking water to more than 800 million people across Africa and he would need donations to help his cause.  But with a common perception towards charity as a black hole, where money gets thrown with no knowledge to the giver what it is going towards, Harrison realized that he had to accomplish a second thing, making it easier and reinventing the way people understand their donation.

Targeting millennials was a big thing for Harrison and other charities in general.  Over 80 million millennials are now coming of age and are able to spend money on nonprofits.  Identifying how they’ll do so is vital to the future of the nonprofit landscape.

A forecaster for trends in nonprofit giving, Amy Webb, mentions that changing the language could be a simple but big step in the right direction.  Changing the language from donation to investment should help millennials understand where their money is headed.  Webb cites this as a good idea because of the constant sharing between individuals online through social media.

Harrison and Webb have seen millennials put their best foot forward in giving when the cause is shareable, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example, and it will be continuing trends like this that will shape how giving happens in the next 20 years.