Millennials Give to CharityGeneration Y, whose members are commonly referred to as “millennials,” is often considered to be the most selfish generation. However, the perceived narcissism of millennials is a simplified and inaccurate depiction of this age group. Recent data has proven something that older generations can’t seem to believe: millennials care about people other than themselves. In fact, many millennials give to charity.

According to the Millennial Impact Report, 75 percent of millennials donated to charity in 2011. That number increased to an impressive 84 percent in 2015. Seventy percent of millennials even help raise funds for their favorite causes.

If the charitable millennial still seems like an imaginary creature, consider Micaela Hill, a 22-year-old volunteer with AmeriCorps NCCC. At present, Hill is involved in disaster relief efforts in Texas. Two years ago, she did medical volunteer work in Guatemala. Needless to say, she resents the self-absorbed image bestowed on her and her fellow millennials. “I am currently surrounded by 300 charity-minded millennials,” Hill told The Borgen Project. “My friends have always been willing to help others.”

Conceding that millennials are engaged in charity work, is there anything to support the myth of the “narcissism epidemic” that supposedly plagues them? A study done by the University of Illinois’ psychology department determined that college-age individuals score the highest on Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) assessments. However, the research also explains that this phenomenon has little to do with generations and more to do with maturation. Young people today actually earn lower NPI scores than young people 20 years ago.

Indeed, millennials give to charity and they are doing so in modern and tech-savvy ways. An estimated 62 percent of millennials make charitable donations online. The Digital Age has led to the birth of fundraising websites like Indigogo and Kickstarter, which make donating fast and simple for proficient web-users. Eight percent of millennials give to charity through social media platforms, and 50 percent use their social media accounts to share information about charities and causes they believe in.

In Hill’s opinion, the Internet and social media contribute crucially to millennials’ awareness of global affairs. “Now everyone knows about [global issues] and can become aware of what they can do to help,” she says.

Most millennials report that when they give to charity, they want the opportunity to see the good their donation has done. This desire to make a visible change in the world is considered narcissistic according to the NPI test, but many millennials would argue it is admirably ambitious. Hill is one such individual.

“We all haven’t had the chance to enact the changes we want to see in the world yet, but we are now coming of age. Our time is coming.”

– Mary Efird

Photo: Flickr

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