New research reveals that the charity sector might be at risk of losing a generation of wealthy millennial givers. The study, which was produced by Beacon Collaborative, found that generalist fundraising approaches don’t engage this group and wealthy individuals 35 and younger often feel disconnected from charities.
‘Young Givers: The Giving Needs of the Future Wealthy’ surveyed a group of 27 millennials across Great Britain with investable assets over £250,000 and found that most donate between £500 and £5,000 annually.
These findings – which studied wealthy millennials in particular – are at odds with previous surveys of the generation, now aged 25–40, which found that almost 85 per cent of millennials donated to charity, a higher rate than previous generations at the same age.
Instead, among this wealthier group, the research found that these individuals were more concerned with responding to issues than pursuing strategies that will disrupt the status quo; they were reluctant activists who did not see the link between giving and activism; and did not have major giving on their radar – though some mentioned they would consider it later in life when they were more ‘financially comfortable’.
With an estimated £5.5 trillion set to change hands from baby boomers to the younger generations over the next 30 years, Beacon Collaborative has ten recommendations for fundraising organisations looking to engage the future wealthy:
- Show how solutions address causes, not symptoms
- Relate to their experience and don’t use jargon
- Encourage deeper conversations
- Quantify the effect of their donation and put it into ‘bigger picture’ context
- Welcome them into your community of donors
- Embed giving in their workplace, lifestyle and at major moments in their life
- Offer volunteering opportunities
- Quantify the value of volunteering professional skills, but don’t shield them from the frontline
- Enable collaboration to make their contribution more holistic (eg. with businesses or other community organisations)
- Use technology, but remember it is not a substitute for donor engagement
‘Wealthy millennials are a critical part of a bright future for philanthropy in the UK. This research shows that fundraising organisations need to do more to understand their needs and set them on the path to a lifetime of giving,’ said Matthew Bowcock, chair and co-founder, Beacon Collaborative.