Millennials & Community

By Rachel Adrian



Millennials are an emerging, and very important demographic. One aspect that hasn’t gotten much attention is the different ways that millennials view causes and involvement in community. In order to get millennials engaged and involved in community work, we need to approach them differently than other generations. So what does this look like?

Millennials and Why They Matter

The millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000 are now entering employment in vast numbers. They will shape the world of work for years to come. Attracting the best of these millennial workers is critical to the future of any business. Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, commitment CSR and knowledge and use of new technologies will define the culture of the 21st century workplace.Millennials matter because they are not only different from those that have gone before, they are also more numerous than any since the soon to retire Baby Boomer generation – As of 2015, millennials official form 30% of the workforce in the US and account for over half of the population in developing countries like India and China. By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global and North American workforce.Millennials also view the workplace differently. They view it as much more than a place to earn money.

  • Almost 50% say they want to work for organizations that have a positive impact on society.

  • They want meaningful work that benefits others and that is more important than a high salary for 44% of them.

  • AND fully 36% said they would work harder if their company benefited society.

Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

Millennials: Making the world a better place

Are millennials really any different to past generations? Affiliation with a cause is more important to the Millennials than any other previous generation. Millennials grew up recycling in kindergarten, volunteering as part of their high school completion and they are the first generation that does not know life before the climate change crisis.

  • Fully 84% of millennials consider it their duty to make a positive difference through their lifestyle

  • 61% are concerned about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to improve it

Millennials believe that working for causes is an integral part of life, and they are drawn to big issues. Instead of making just one-off charitable donations in cash or in kind, they’re more likely to integrate their causes into daily life by buying products that support sustainable farming or “fair trade” principles, or by joining large movements that aim to solve social or environmental problems.


Birth Years

Defining Events


Silent Generation


Great Depression, WWII, Communism

Cautious, practical, loyal, patriotic

Baby Boomer Generation


Jet Age, National TV, Civil Rights Movement, Space Exploration

Optimistic, idealistic, competitive, ambitious

Generation X


Working mothers, Nixon and Watergate, Vietnam

Skeptical, risk-taking, self reliant

Millennial Generation


AIDS, Space Shuttle Challenger, Global Warming, Technology

Technology reliant, multitasking, impatient, team-oriented, adaptable

The Case Foundation Millennial Impact Report highlights 3 areas that charities and non-profits will have to adapt to, as millennials become a more prominent demographic in our society. Give, Serve & Inspire:


Millennials have different expectations when making a donation. They want to know exactly how their money will be spent, and what impact it will have. Using technology to communicate impact is even more important for millennials than any other generation.

  • 93% of millennials surveyed donated to at least one non-profit at some point in 2010

  • 78% of millennials are likely to stop donating if they don’t know whether the organization is making an impact. 72% are likely to stop donating if they don’t feel a personal connection with the organization


Often having more time than money, volunteering is an important way for millennials to give back. Millennials have grown up being shown the importance of volunteering, often having to complete volunteer hours to graduate high school or complete their co-curricular record.

  • Millennials biggest pet peeves when volunteering are not having enough to do while volunteering (69%) and now knowing exactly what they’ll be expected to do while volunteering (60%).




More than anything else, millennials want to feel like they are part of a movement. In contrast to Baby Boomers that look to leave a legacy after retirement, millennials want to be involved and engaged in social movements from an early age.Millennials have very specific expectations from the charities and non-profits they give, serve and inspire with. As they become an increasingly important demographic in our society, marketing cause programs to millennial interests will become more important than ever before. 

Next blog:Millennials & the Future of Community Activism