More Than Meets the Eye
When it comes to Millennial donors, many churches have more questions than answers.
What do they want? What compels them to give? What might prevent them from giving? What’s a trigger warning?
And, while it may be all too easy to write this generation off as lazy, entitled, and more interested in the latest Snapchat filter than in serving on Sunday morning, it is imperative that churches seek to better understand and engage this emerging demographic.
At 83 million strong, Millennials are already the largest generation in history. As of 2015, they accounted for 34 percent of the US workforce, and by 2025 they are expected to generate 46 percent of all US income.
While those numbers may be daunting for church leaders still struggling to identify a strategy for Millennials, new research from Dunham and Company reveals there may be more to this generation than meets the eye.
Millennials and Giving
For example, the impression that Millennials don’t go (or give) to church anymore? Not true!
“Millennial donors are much more connected to places of worship than many would think,” says Trent Dunham, Senior Global Director at Dunham and Company. “Our study discovered that one out of four Millennials attend religious services at least once a week, and that they give more to places of worship than to any other type of charitable organization.”
You can get the full study here, but for a quick overview, below are three key takeaways that emerge from Dunham and Co’s research.
1. Millennials gave an average of $580 to charity last year
This number is not quite as high as the amount given by Gen X’ers and Boomers, but when you consider that the youngest Millennials are still teenagers, and the oldest have not yet hit their peak earning years, this amount still reflects an impressive display of generosity. Contrary to popular opinion, many Millennials are already building a foundation of generosity that will be certain to grow with them throughout their careers.
2. Millennials give a lot to faith-based organizations
Millennials give more than five times more to places of worship and faith-based nonprofits than they do to education, their next highest area of support. This high level of support for places of worship is mirrored in the other generations but is actually more pronounced with Millennials. While much has been made of waning church attendance amongst twenty and thirtysomethings, it is clear that giving to their local place of worship is still a priority for many of them.
3. Technology is a big deal with Millennials
51 percent of US Millennials gave via a charity’s website last year. 37 percent used their smartphone to give, compared with only 25 percent of older generations. No surprises there. Clearly, the generation that came of age alongside the smartphone would value a giving experience that leverages the latest in mobile tech. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that 36 percent of Millennials say they were motivated to give after arriving on the charity’s website. This further emphasizes how essential it is for churches to invest in engaging content for their websites, apps, and social platforms.