We have entered the season of #GivingTuesday. Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to remind us to be thankful, is over and we are now officially in the Christmas countdown. Much like the over-commercialization of December, Millennials often find themselves unfairly categorized this time of year. Let’s not forget, despite all the deals and discounts during #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday, many of those purchases will go as gifts to friends and loved ones. So as we review the trend of Giving Tuesday and its impact, let’s also explore how Generation Y is proving its “Me Generation” nickname wrong.
In 2012, #GivingTuesday started as a grassroots movement to encourage people to give back one day during the post-Thanksgiving shopping season. #GivingTuesday has quickly become a social media phenomenon, with support from the United Nations Foundation and 10,000 organizations. Businesses can use the hashtag to share about charitable giving, nonprofits can promote their work and you can share who you support with the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram. And Millennials love it.
The original “Me” generation was the Baby Boomers, but the Millennials inherited the insulting label with their technology centric, personalized mentality. However, studies are beginning to show older generations were too quick to judge. 87% of Millennials donated to a charity in 2014, and 47% volunteered their time to a cause. A new survey from World Vision shows that young men between the ages of 18-34 are the most likely to have made a charitable donation in the form of a gift. The same survey reports that young women in the Generation Y age group are the most likely to feel good about donating.
The reality is so far from the perception. Only 7% of people believe that Generation Y is more generous than the previous generation, despite evidence to the contrary. Only recently (age, recession) could Millennials afford to make monetary donations, but before that, they volunteered. And many twenty-somethings choose careers based on their charitable values, deciding to work in nonprofits, choosing companies with a history of corporate giving, or starting a business that answers a need in the community.
Perhaps the divide comes from looking at charity in different ways. Younger generations tend to believe their actions have a larger impact. They make purchasing decisions based on a company’s give back policy and often opt for “crowdfunding” charities as opposed to large recognizable names. The concept of online giving and micro-donations really resonates with Millennials. For example, last year, a movement to promote #GivingTuesday began called the “#UNSelfie” where Millennials took photos representing the charity they gave to, instead of a selfie. Of course anyone can take an #UNSelfie, but the concept is certainly perpetuated by those born in the era of the selfie.
Millennials have proved through giving of time, talent and cash that they are more of a “Me Second” than a “ME First” generation. And this makes sense because plenty of studies have shown the values of Generation Y include community and altruism. And that’s what #GivingTuesday is all about. Here at PIE we encourage you to pick a cause that you will support and share about your generosity with others!