Millennials and Workplace Giving: New Trends

Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce – and they are changing the way companies give.

While millennials are often referred to as the “me” generation, they are actually much more generous than people realize. It’s just that how they give and volunteer looks different from previous generations.

They don’t view volunteering as separate from work or personal life. In fact, a quality that defines the millennial generation is their desire for life balance in which things that are important to them support each other rather than exist separately. Of course, to some extent we’re talking in generalities here, but extensive research, including self-reporting by those in this generation (those born between roughly 1980 and 1996), demonstrate these common trends.

When millennials give, they are less interested in writing a check and more interested in engaging in meaningful activities that support a specific cause important to them. As a whole, they are very environmentally and socially conscious. They feel accountable for protecting the environment and want to contribute in ways that do less harm and contribute to more good.

(Speaking of good, volunteering makes people feel good, and millennials appreciate this fact! To learn more about how volunteering makes us happy, visit our previous blog post at

Millennials integrate living well and helping others into their daily lives, and they expect their employers to do the same. Research shows that millennials gravitate towards jobs and managers that provide them a sense of purpose. The millennials studied self-report they are more likely to volunteer if their company sponsors an initiative and their co-workers engage in the opportunity as well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if they receive incentives for their volunteer efforts.

But most importantly, millennials look for volunteer activities that contribute to their life and career goals. They want to know that they are able to use their unique skills to make a difference while also gaining value for themselves by meeting new friends, expanding their professional network, engaging in learning activities, and developing abilities that will help them with their careers. Millennials also understand that volunteering helps develop leadership skills, something they want more of so they can advance in their professional goals.

So it’s not just about the money – millennials want experiences that will benefit them while they are also making a difference.

This is really important for companies to understand because workplace happiness is a huge factor in retaining millennials. Employee volunteer programs can be used as an important tool to increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

Travel with purpose,

Jené Kapela

Founder & Chief Voluntourism Officer

Interested in hearing more? Contact us to learn how we can help you design a volunteer program that will give your millennials a sense of purpose connected with your organization.