Millennials are "Boutique" Givers

Love it or hate it, the fact still remains … millennials are boutique givers.

Boutique giving is a term I use to explain the giving philosophy of millennials. For the most part, they do not put all of their charitable “eggs” in one basket. They prefer giving to multiple causes more than a single charity. As a whole, they want to “change the world”. That’s why they give to causes that  make a personal difference in the life of another human being. In doing so, they feel connected. Once connected, they are motivated to repeat the pattern.

Understanding their viewpoint about charitable giving is important for several reasons. For one, ministries have gotten a bad rep lately. Some ministries from the misconduct (fall) of a significant ministry leader. Others from the labels “bloated” and “bureaucratic”. For many millennials, all the above are a total turnoff and causes them to pull the rip cord. As one millennial recently reiterated, “Just because you have my parents doesn’t mean you have me.”

Another important reason is because most ministries depend on their donors’ regular and generous giving patterns. Younger givers, however, don’t necessarily equate donations with money. For them, a donation might be using their energy to network, actual time spent in a project or giving financially. They almost reject out of hand those charities or ministries they perceive as saying, “Send us your money and we’ll take care of the process.”

Lastly, they give to those who do a good job of communicating how their contributions helped change the life of another person. Their financial gift says, “I trust you to use my money to accomplish what I would do, if I could go.”  Ministries or charities that are more vested in telling their story rather than sharing others’ life-changing stories will not motivate millennials. If a ministry or charity, for whatever reason, does not dramatically tell how they make the human plight better, they will be hard pressed to capture the hearts and minds of most millennials.