6 Ways Millennials Give Back Differently

6 Ways Millennials Give Back Differently

One of the hottest topics for brands and marketers these days is how to connect with growing demographics that are, well, harder to connect with.

Millennials and now Generation Z are less and less brand-loyal, but in need of content and entertainment more than ever.

Part of it is that they (or we) want to have meaningful lives that contribute to higher purposes. Traditional 9-to-5 jobs are less and less appealing, and our personal brands are tied up into the products–and their stories–we buy and wear.

We believe in changing the world, in whatever big or small ways we can, but it looks different than our parents’ take on generosity.

Here are a few ways Millennials give back and see money differently today:

1. We like to invest in ideas

In the past decade, many nonprofits have done a great job increasing awareness about poverty and various human rights atrocities. Now we care a lot more about building something that will help prevent these things (poverty, hunger, and human trafficking) altogether. Have you noticed the term “social enterprise” is on the rise? As the discussion on international development and aid is advancing, so is our interest in innovative ideas to invest in.

2. Our buying looks like giving

Many talented creatives and aspiring world-changers have captured hold of the opportunity to blend social impact with business. Many startup brands these days not only sell cool stuff but also have a social component to them. Creating jobs for the poor or donating a portion of proceeds to a charity partner are examples of how you can have meaningful impact as a business.

3. My donation should feel rewarding

It’s nice when we can participate in a cause we believe in. Benefit concerts, raffles for celebrity meet and greets, or online fundraising campaigns to give up our birthday make it feel like an experience, not a transaction. Stories go a long way, too. Kickstarter’s Founder recently started Dollar a Day, where you commit to donate a dollar each day, and they send you an email each morning with the story of the non-profit your dollar went to.

4. The way we carry money has changed

If we are not carrying around cash, we’re certainly not carrying around checkbooks. But we have Venmo, and many churches now offer digital giving from your phone. echurch found that 85 percent of users give up trying to donate on their phone if process takes longer than 30 seconds. The average time it takes to donate online can take up to three or more minutes. We need frictionless engagement when we want to pay or give. If you’re a church or non-profit, get in touch with us to learn how we can provide you with the mobile-friendly giving tools young people love.

5. Yes, Instagram matters

Yes, “slacktivism” carries a bad reputation. But aside from our money, the next most valuable thing we have is our personal brand. Much of the way we share ideas and learn about new ones is through social media. From running creative fundraising and awareness campaigns to posting pictures of our hands, we believe that, yes, Instagram selfies do really matter.  Don’t be too quick to dismiss the value of a social media share. Millennials show approval for a cause by sharing it with their social network. This is the kind of social proof that helps brands to establish long-term trust.

6. It’s cool to care

When I grew up, it was cool not to care, about anything. Saggy pants and poor posture (not to mention one-word answers), were the character traits of many popular figures. I’m glad that’s not the case anymore. The rise of technology has made intellect and conversation a valuable commodity. Combine that with the shared desire to leave the world a better place, it’s all of a sudden really really cool to care. And not just to care, but it’s cool to do something about it.

Derek Gillette

Derek Gillette is the Digital Marketing Content Specialist at Cisco. He and his wife share a life mission to create meaningful conversations through vulnerability.