Millennials see the world through a different lens

Monday September 5th 2022

Ian Tindale, Director of Yodal

Charitable bequests through estate planning are a significant source of revenue and capital for the not for profit industry. According to recently published research, of those with a Will about 7.5% include a gift to charity.

According to a survey by the global Reputation Institute, in 2019 benevolent charities who help people in need account for 37 out of the top 40 ranked charities in Australia with only the RSPCA at number 20, World Wide Fund for Nature at 29, and Greenpeace at 39 making the list.

In terms of dollars donated from all sources $10.7 billion went to benevolent charities, $4.9 billion went to schools and colleges and $1.2 billion went to registered environmental organisations and animal welfare organisations. However this is likely to change.

The world is perceived as being a far smaller place than when Gen X ‘s (like me) grew up. The idea that I can make a difference on a global level based on what I do on a personal level (such as recycling) was not a concept that was socialised back in the ‘70’s or 80’s. However, the millennials see the world through quite a different lens.

The concept that an individual can make a global difference is one that millennials seem to have accepted as a truism. Love her or loathe her, Greta Thornburg is a recent example of this. The belief that one person can make a big difference or affect a change on a global level is both inspiring and motivational.

It means that the discussion a millennial will have around giving will be very different to the one that their parents are having right now. Donating to a charity where they can’t see an impact (other than giving a tax deduction) isn’t very fulfilling for them and is not going to cut it.

Geopolitical and educational differences have had a massive impact on this need to be a part of a real solution. Being educated on climate change issues and how our conduct today can make for a better world tomorrow, is inspiring. Whereas back in the midst of the cold war of the 70’s and 80’s, where the fate of the world rested in the hands of people with whom we had no connection or influence, left people like me, the Gen X’s, with a mindset of, “well I can’t do anything to change the course of history, so why worry about the climate or pollution”.

Social media has also impacted the decisions of millennials about where they donate their money. Saving the climate is seemingly a higher priority than a famine in a far-away continent. These perceptions will drive the thinking of those who want to donate to make a difference and the legacy that they leave.

So, charities beware. Perception is most people’s reality, so if the main reason people give is their belief that the charity supports a good cause, and a respect for the work the charity does then what was a great cause in 2020 may look far less attractive in 2030*.

Read what the latest census data has revealed about the millennial generation in this article from Probono Australia