Wealthy millennials want to donate to local, personal causes ‘not change the world’, says report

Charities run the risk of missing out on vital funding unless they improve their communication with wealthy millennials, a report is warning.

According to the report, £5.5trillion is set to be transferred between generations in the UK by next year, with an increasing number of socially mobile adults under the age of 35 earning significant amounts of money.

But charities are too often failing to understand this group of adults’ relationship with giving and how to communicate with them to encourage donations, says the report, called The Giving Needs of the Future Wealthy, by think tank Beacon Collaborative and commissioned by Arts Council England.

The research found charities have preconceived ideas about this generation, that they are more likely to see charitable giving as a way of tackling systemic issues in society.

However, the research, based on interview with 27 millennials with more than £250,000 in investable assets, found their giving is often based on to support local, personal or small-scale causes.

A key focus is “change an individual’s life for the better (not change the world)”, says the report.

The report adds that “systemic chance and charitable giving are rarely considered together, instead, they are seen as two distinct issues – one within reach and one too big for an individual to have an impact on”.

One millennial interviewed said: "I want a cause where I can really see it's going to make a personal difference.

“I don't know if that’s really selfish to say so I can get something out of seeing how it's changed someone’s life ... I think it’s really rewarding and motivating to see that impact someone’s life positively and it could make you try and keep giving".

The report urges charities to “tailor their communications, innovate new events ideas and support enhanced knowledge without learners feeling like they are at school”.

“A little targeted effort to engage with these donors now has the potential to pay
huge dividends in the medium term and will be well worth the effort to engage, energise and embrace these donors,” it adds.

The report also found that charities also assume that technology and innovation will be vital to engaging with millennials. However, this generation see technology as an enabler “for fast and easy giving but tech and innovation are not drivers to giving”, the report adds.

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