A Shift in Charitable Giving: How Millennials Donate Differently


Charitable giving has undergone a massive change in the 21st century.

Direct mail packages remain relatively successful for well-known organizations, especially with Baby Boomers and older generations. But the more tech savvy Millennials are less likely to drop a check in the mail and more likely to donate from their smartphone.

According to Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report for 2017, 21% of online donations were made on mobile devices in 2017. That’s more than double the amount of online donations made on smartphones three years earlier. Donations from mobile devices only accounted for 9% of online giving in 2014.

And considering that smartphone subscriptions are expected to nearly double in the next five years—the 2018 Ericsson Mobility Report projects there will be 7.2 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2023—donations made from mobile devices may also very well double in the coming years.

For many charitable organizations, the question now is: “How do you capitalize on the stunning growth in online giving from mobile devices?”

A Different Mindset

The reality is that millennials account for the majority of smartphone usage.

The Pew Research Center reported that 94% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 own a smartphone. In comparison, only 46% of adults 65 years or older own a smartphone. Clearly, charitable organizations need to target millennials for smartphone giving.

But, as you probably know, millennials have received a bad rap when it comes to giving donations. Millennials are often dubbed the “Me Me Me Generation.” And, according to Blackbaud, millennials only account for 11% of total U.S. charitable giving.

Interestingly, 84% of millennials actually give to charity. Their donations are simply smaller.

Plus, millennials are more likely to give of their time and resources than financially. Millennials tend to donate clothes and food to worthy causes, as well as volunteer regularly.

So, millennials are actually a very giving generation. But enticing millennials to open their wallets and donate is a nut that few charitable organizations have cracked. The reality is that this generation grew up in the Great Recession, and many are still weighed down by student debt.

For a millennial to give away their hard-earned (and hard-saved) funds, he or she wants transparency.

Millennials want to know exactly where their money is going, how it is being used and what type of an impact it will have. Success stories and concrete examples are often sure-fire tactics to catching a millennials attention.

You may also want to consider asking for smaller donation amounts. The average monthly gift amount in 2017 was $25. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but to a millennial with limited funds, that’s a tank of gas or some groceries.

On the other hand, millennials will be less likely to balk at a donation amount of $0.50 or even a dollar.

An Easy, Non-Friction Way to Give

If you want to boost your millennial online giving, you need to be transparent, and create an easy, non-friction way to give that doesn’t require breaking the bank.

Many organizations have figured out how to do just that… at the grocery store!

Tell me if this sounds familiar. There’s recently been a major disaster somewhere in the world. You’ve stopped to pick up a few groceries at the local store. As you’re getting ready to pay, the checkout clerk asks if you’ll give a dollar to support the American Red Cross disaster efforts. A dollar. That’s it.

In most instances, people don’t even bat an eye at adding a dollar to their grocery bill. It’s one dollar. It’s easy and transparent. They know that dollar is supporting the American Red Cross disaster efforts.

LaterPay brings this same idea to online giving.

Whether from a mobile device, laptop or home computer, LaterPay creates an easy, non-friction way to entice people to donate. Here’s how it works…

Millennials aren’t hit with a large donation amount. And they are not bogged down by a lengthy donation process. Instead, the donor can give as little as $0.05 by merely committing to “pay for it later.”

The donation is then added to the donor's online tab. Once that tab reaches $5, he or she will then be prompted to register, enter their information and pay their donation. It’s as simple as that.

And it works: 85% of those who commit to paying later, ultimately do! Deb Jarrett, founder of Dharamsala Animal Rescue says: "We’ve started using LaterPay two months ago and donations are 5x higher than traditional donation methods."

Learn how you can get started by adding a LaterPay donation button to your website today.