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Living and Giving:

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The Generous Generation—3 Millennial Myths Debunked

By Leo Ramirez Posted on November 17, 2016

We’re pretty sure there’s some unwritten rule that every generation is supposed to rag on the generation after it—it’s one of the perks of getting old! Oftentimes it can just be good fun, but at what point do we realize it’s gone too far?

It seems like lately everyone’s favorite generation to poke fun at are millennials. But some of the “fun” being poked has become not-so-fun at all. We’ve heard it all:

“They’re so entitled.”
“They’re lazy.”
“They only ever think of themselves.”
“They disrespect their elders.”

Blah blah blah. We don’t buy into any of that. Unfortunately, it seems that the more and more people are hearing these claims, the more they’re believing it.

But here's the thing:

The more we begin to believe these myths about millennials, a lot of opportunities, which affect all of us, are closed off. Realistically, millennials are intelligent, truth-seeking, generous people, and research shows it. When we tap into that, then we all reap the benefits. Here are 3 myths about millennials—debunked.

Myth #1: They’re entitled and have always had things given to them.

It is true that many millennials eschew corporate giving and are more reticent than older generations to simply write a check for a charity. But this doesn’t translate to being entitled. According to Forbes.com, over 80% of millennials report giving charitable donations. So millennials are giving and even though they may not participate in corporate giving programs, they are paying attention to their employers' corporate social responsibility efforts. In fact, over 75% of millennials will consider a company’s corporate social responsibility when determining where they want to work.

Perhaps even more surprising is this:

In light of this myth of entitlement, over 60% of millennials would voluntarily take a pay cut to work for a company they felt was more socially aware and responsible. These actions just don’t mesh with the image of millennials as entitled. Instead, they paint the picture of people who are not happy just getting jobs. These are people who want to be involved in their careers, as well as in doing something that matters. Often, millennials feed this desire to make a difference by giving to organizations and causes that resonate with them personally.

Myth #2: They don’t make enough money to give

Millennials may not have the level of disposable income that baby boomers or even Generation X-ers have in their bank accounts. But there is evidence that shows most millennials do have a little left over at the end of the day. The success of crowdfunding campaigns and platforms, such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Patreon, has been largely driven by millennials.

Each of these platforms shares a few features that seem to appeal to millennial attitudes around giving:

Transparency: Successful projects on crowdfunding sites provide transparency. Often an artist will explain the project they hope to create or a community will outline exactly how they will allocate the funds they raise to renovate a playground. Regardless of the endeavor, those who give have a clear understanding of how their money will be used.

Small Donations Encouraged: Millennials may be more likely to give $5 to 10 different causes than $50 to a single organization. Crowdfunding sites offer perks or rewards at even very small levels of support. Many of the rewards for small amounts are a simple “Thank you,” but this acknowledgment goes a long way.

Myth #3: They’re not “connected” to local organizations.

It’s not that millennials aren't connected to their local organizations, it’s that they aren't connected to the same local organizations as older generations.

When you ask a baby boomer about local, community charitable giving, there’s a good chance they'll mention a place of worship. Millennials don't give to religious organizations as often as their parents and grandparents did.

Truth-be-told, fewer millennials are attending religious services. Additionally, millennials are less likely to list a religious affiliation on the United States Census. It really shouldn’t be surprising that they aren't giving to religious groups when they are less religious than Generation X-ers and baby boomers.

Instead of places of worship, millennials connect with secular causes that benefit animals, children, and young people. Many millennials will volunteer time as well as give money to local humane societies and animal shelters. Organizations that help children and the youth also benefit from millennial charitable giving.


Don’t believe the negativity that’s getting thrown around about millennials. These myths, that millennials are entitled, without disposable income, or disconnected from their communities, are simply not true. When you really look at the data available, it becomes clear that the generations complaining about millennials are completely mistaken.

It's not that millennials don't give; it's that they give differently and to different causes than baby boomers and Generation Xers.

Millennials are generous with their time, as well as their money. They're concerned about social responsibility and highly tuned in to the issues that matter to them. When given the opportunity, millennials are at least as likely as older generations to support causes through charitable giving. At Encast, we make it easy for employers to provide all their employees with the opportunity to give back. It's easy, intuitive, and best of all can accommodate baby boomers, Generation Xers, and even millennials. Contact us for more information. In the meantime, check out our latest offer below!



Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

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