The image of the starving college student or struggling young adult seems to juxtapose the image of a citizen willing to give part of their hard-earned salary to nonprofit organizations. However, the Millennials (roughly described as those born between 1979 and 1994) are actually more willing to give to causes they believe in than you would think. Although only seven percent of adults believe that the younger generation is more generous than the previous ones, statistics have shown that Millennials have been unselfish in donating both their time and money.

In 2011, 75% of young people aged 20-35 donated monetarily, 63% donated their time and 70% raised money for nonprofit organizations. In 2012, this increased to 83% that donated financially to an organization while 52% were interested in monthly donating.

We ask ourselves though, what is the motivation driving the younger generation to give? According to a report composed by Achieve titled “The 2013 Millennial Impact Report,” the top four reasons are:

  • They are passionate about a cause or issue.
  • They feel like they can make a difference.
  •  Getting involved gives them an opportunity to connect and network with like-minded people.
  • They can utilize their professional skills and expertise to help others.

Although it was found that the younger generation give relatively small amounts, this can actually be positive because it means they are more concerned in seeing the efficacy of each dollar donated.

“If they can give, I can too!”

You’re absolutely right! There are so many ways to give back to organizations both in your community and internationally:

  • Make a list of causes you care about and set aside a predetermined amount per year you plan to donate.
  • Give clothes you haven’t worn in years or clothes you don’t need to charity.
  • Sell items you don’t use on EBay or host a yard sale and give the profits to a cause you care about.
  • Find volunteer opportunities near you. ( is a great place to start!)
  • If an organization doesn’t already exist for the cause you care about, create your own nonprofit.

The reasons to give are endless. Even donating a small amount can give you a sense of community when you see the collective efforts of your small donation combined with the donations of others all contributing to a larger cause. Donating any amount makes you more grateful for what you have, and you are given a sense of wealth by being able to share what little you have with others.

When you donate, it inspires those around you to donate, too. Create a movement among your friends to volunteer together, or pool your money for a cause you all care deeply about and see the effects of your efforts working to make the world a better place.

Whether it’s providing people in developing countries with water, donating to breast cancer research or volunteering at a local soup kitchen, get involved and know that even the smallest donation of time or money can help.

– Kimberly Tierney

Sources: Family Share, Huffington Post, Millennial Impact Report, Philanthropy, Stay Classy, USA Today, U.S. News, World Vision

Photo: Chillicothe