CSR and the Millennial Generation

pexels-photo-1438073-2Millennials, millennials and more millennials. They’re the talk of the town and a topic of interest in everything from economics to philanthropy. And for good reason.

Millennials comprise the largest generation in today’s workforce. Not only that, but they – as well as their Gen Z counterparts – are extremely generous and focused on contributing to the causes they care about most. In fact, a survey of 3,000 adults (including 288 entrepreneurs) by Fidelity Charitable found that millennials donate, on average, $13,654 a year to charity. This was compared to $6,200 donated by Gen X and $6,192 by the Baby Boomer generation.

Their philanthropic efforts go beyond their personal contributions. Millennials and Gen Zers look to their employers to be socially and philanthropically responsible, as well. According to a study by Cone Communications, 75 percent of millennials said they would take a pay cut in order to work for a company that engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. Cone Communications’s 2017 Gen Z CSR Study found that 87 percent of millennials and 94 percent of Gen Zers said that companies should address social issues, as well as environmental issues.

So, what makes Gen Z and millennials so much more in-tune with philanthropy than previous generations? It is not that they are more generous or have more money to donate, but their access to information. It’s no secret that millennials and Gen Zers are social media mavens, and this social media expertise allows them to be made aware of social issues faster than other generations who may not be scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis. Millennials and Gen Zers tend to feel more empowered because of their awareness and, in turn, look for ways to combat the problems they are seeing and hope their employers will feel the same.

What does this mean for organizations that are employing high numbers of millennial or Gen Z workers? Take advantage of CSR! But it’s important not to just throw money at any cause or issue that employees bring to the table. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, “companies should implement a strategy that aligns with their overall mission, and select a few causes that are important to the organization.” You can’t fix every problem or fully dive into every issue that comes your way, so choose a couple of areas that your organization can commit to and that align with your values and dedicate your CSR program to those specific issues.

Are you a company that can’t afford to donate large amounts of time or money to causes? That’s ok, you can pitch in in small ways!

  • Give employees time off for volunteering
  • Develop committees to allow employees to make decisions about CSR
  • Compensate or recognize employees who dedicate time to volunteering in the community
  • Choose one event, giving day or fundraiser a year to take part in rather than several
  • Instead of giving large sums of money, engage in some volunteer activities like helping out at a women’s shelter or homeless shelter, the local humane society, planting trees for Earth Day or other service projects

Your millennial employees dedicate their time and effort to your organization, so it’s important to meet them where their passions are and do your part in giving back to the community that supports you.