Millennials are ’boutique givers’ because we believe small is the new big. This is an idea that you can touch. Just look at recent product designs like the micro Mini Cooper and Apple’s ever-shrinking Macbooks (now as thin as Air). These physical representations speak to a post-modern (or at least post-our parents) rejection of BIG as a virtue in and of itself. Instead Millennials seek to find a new path for interacting with our world in more simple, yet paradoxically, more significant ways. For us deep is better than wide.
Perhaps this is seen best in the way we seek to compassionately meet the needs of others. Kiva.org is a tremendous example of this ’boutique’ giving. It takes the concept of micro-credit and places it on a new personal level. Kiva combines loans (as small as $25) from people all over the world to those who could not meet traditional credit requirement – often women. With the combined power of these ‘micro-loans’ everyday people in developing countries are able to start businesses that raise themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty. This new framework of individual empowerment as a tool for poverty alleviation, flips prior models on their heads. Previous generations tried to meet needs with top-down approaches like the IMF and World Bank. Kiva and other groups seek to empower individuals on a uniquely personal level – from the bottom up.
What is most unique about Kiva, though, is that it personally connects the two sides of this international financial exchange. Applications aren’t just file folders of banking documents, they’re stories and hopes and dreams. And since Kiva has a 98% repayment rate lenders get their money back and are empowered to help change more lives by continuing the process.
Millennials are boutique givers because they want to be a part of the journey AND a part of the solution. We see the individual for their priceless, inherent worth AND for their potential for change that benefits us all. We embrace the duality and recognize that small is the new big.
Our giving is an extension of our identity … compassionate, engaged and ever optimistic. Changing one life to change the world is what ’boutique’ giving is all about.