Do millennials give to charity? How giving trends impact cause sponsorship

SponsorPulse Staff
  • September 6, 2023
  • SponsorPulse Staff
Image courtesy Mathieu Turle via Unsplash
Charitable giving has been on the decline in the US. But among Millennials, annual gift giving is on the rise. Find out how this impacts nonprofits and which charities are most engaged with by American Millennials.

For the fourth time in 40 years, the US experienced a decline in overall giving. The 3.4% decline comes at a time where nonprofits are in significant need of support, especially as they navigate the post-pandemic era. While there has been a decline across individual giving, one generation has shown a promising increase - Millennials.

Millennial giving is on the rise

A Giving USA study revealed a significant increase in Millennial gift giving from 2016 to 2022, with the annual average gift increasing by 40%, from $942 to $1,323. This generation continues to invest in and work for companies that are walking the talk when it comes to their sustainability practices with 79% of Millennial employees stating that they are loyal to companies that care about their effect on society.

What does this mean for Sponsorship?

With Millenials making up the largest population in the world today, they are a crucial demographic to engage for all brands. Knowing that this generation is putting their money and loyalty where their mouth is provides a mutually beneficial opportunity for the cause space and brands alike. 

Including cause as a key vertical in your sponsorship strategy not only makes a crucial impact across communities, it acts as an additional proof point for brands to demonstrate their long-term commitment to social and environmental impact.

Cause sponsorship provides an engaging and meaningful way for brands to partner with charities and drive impact. The bonus? The opportunity to engage the over 70 million Millennials. 

Which Organizations are Driving Engagement among Millenials?

Employment Services

Perhaps unsurprising given the multitude of layoffs that are being witnessed globally, organizations focused on helping people overcome barriers to gain access to work stand out with Millenials.

Goodwill is the most engaged with charity among US residents ages 25-39 with 55% of Millennials being engaged, 33% of which state they engage with the cause on a weekly basis. The organization offers a multitude of programs that are focused on access to jobs and skills training while simultaneously running the well-known Goodwill Thrift stores. When you shop at Goodwill, not only are you shopping sustainably, all proceeds go towards helping people in local communities overcome barriers to employment. 

For brands partnering with Goodwill, it's important to note that among the Millennials engaged, 14% would consider supporting a brand that partners with the charity, while 16% say a partnership would increase their favorability of that brand.

Food Security

Food insecurity became a focal topic during the COVID-19 pandemic with more people relying on food banks. In 2022, 49 million people turned to food banks and community programs for help putting food on the table. Though the world has entered the post-pandemic era, food banks continue to operate under strain with 65% reporting an increase in the number of people seeking charitable food assistance.

Organizations like Feeding America host a multitude of programs, everything from youth programs in schools to disaster relief programs across the country. With a vast network of local food banks across the US, there are significant opportunities for brands to join the 52% of Millennials who engage with food security causes. Brands who engage authentically and successfully can expect to move the needle when it comes to favorability and consideration with 20% of engaged Millennials stating they’d be more favorable of the brand and 18% indicating it would increase their consideration. 


It’s no surprise that 53% of Millennials are engaging with Recycling. The once simple days of reduce, reuse, recycle have become much more complex as the world navigates the impacts of climate change which is where organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) come in. 

With a multitude of programs that are aimed to reduce humanity’s environmental footprint, ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and of course, conserve and restore the biodiversity of the planet, the organization has also  developed the WWF Action Center to help educate people on how they can make a difference across key issues such as No Plastics in Nature

For brands looking to partner with organizations tackling environmental issues such as recycling, the data shows that 16% of engaged Millennials would be more likely to consider the brand with 18% stating it would increase their favorability. 

Following Suit

Brands should take their lead from Millennials and look to increase their investments in the cause sponsorship space. These dollars are doing double duty - making a positive difference in the world while providing a way for brands to engage the largest generation group for years to come. 

Want to learn how your brand can engage Millennials through Cause Sponsorship? Sign up for a free account with SponsorPulse.