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There are many divides between the generations on this planet. Millennials are considered lazy and selfish, whereas those who fought in World War II are widely considered the “Greatest Generation.” This obviously has a lot to do with the circumstances that these generations were raised in. The world today is a much different place than it was 70 years ago. But did you know that there is also a generational gap in the way we donate?

 

According to a fascinating report from Forbes, Millennials and those in Generation X seem somewhat more keen to donate than Baby Boomers. According to a study of over 1,000 donors, 60 % of Millennials and 40% of Generation X claimed that they were more likely to donate when they could see a direct impact in their donation; compare that to the 37% of Baby Boomers who agree and it is easy to see that younger generations are more adept to donating. The study also found that a mere 10% of Baby Boomers were interested in increasing their charitable contributions over the next year, compared to 18% of Generation X and 21% of Millennials.

 

But it is easy to point fingers and claim that older generations are less charitable without looking at the bigger picture. Because while it may be that younger generations are considerable more charitable, they are only more charitable in newer forms of donation. For example, Baby Boomers tend to give much more in the traditional sense (volunteering, donating food, etc.), accounting for 43% of charitable contributions in the aforementioned study. However, Millennials are the leading force behind crowdfunding, a newer version of donating.

 

Essentially, crowdfunding is a financing mechanism that allows projects to be funded by third parties who are often not connected to the project. Investors may range from actual venture capitalists to ordinary citizens. Sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and YouCaring are all crowdfunding portals through which any passion project or personal issue can be funded by anybody. For example, if you wanted to start a company that assists children in underdeveloped parts of the world to learn to read, you could start a Kickstarter of Indiegogo campaign to obtain funding. Or, if you are diagnosed with a disease that will require expensive medical treatment, you could start a campaign on YouCaring to cover your medical bills with donations from random, caring citizens. A recent report from Entrepreneur claims that Millennials would rather donate to these forms of charity than to the “traditional” methods because they can more quickly and easily see the outcome. It should be further noted that these forms of donation thrive online and on social media sites. Baby Boomers may be less aware of these outlets and that may further the perceived divide in their willingness to give.

 

In the end, all generations are charitable, but they are charitable in their own ways. Each group donates based on the methods that it is most comfortable with. Millennials prefer immediate, online giving, whereas Baby Boomers tend to stick to the tried-and-true method of volunteerism. Neither one is necessarily better or worse. Regardless of the method, we here at the Opes Group always want to stress the importance of donating for the betterment of our world. We don’t mind how you do it, but just be sure to.