London Skyline. Image credit Davide D'Amico

“Among the many things keeping charity fundraising bods awake at night is the belief that donors will die out with the baby boomer generation” – Cheryl Chapman. (Image credit Davide D’Amico)

Cheryl Chapman is the Director of City Philanthropy, a project funded by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust, aiming to encourage a new generation of philanthropists and promote London as a global centre for philanthropy. City Bridge Trust is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, and Cheryl shares her thoughts on their recent research showing how younger workers in our capital city are motivated by charitable giving…

While traditionally the next generation is always thought to be lazier, less charitable and less informed than the previous generation (normally by the previous generation), new research from City Philanthropy shows that workers in London aged 35 and under, often referred to as ‘millennials’, want to give more time, money and skills than those older than themselves. And the younger they are, the more they want to give.

Among the many revealing statistics in this report, that for the first time offers a London-centric view of attitudes to giving, it shows that 53 percent of London full-time workers under-35 want to volunteer more than they do – this reaches 60 percent in the youngest 18-24 age group and compares with 35 percent for the oldest age group of those aged 55 and over.

The more cynical among us might ask ‘… so why don’t they give more?’  As the report shows, a lack of information about giving and its impact; not enough support, and the failure of companies to value generous behaviour are proving to be barriers to the mobilisation of this willing workforce for good.

The report, entitled ‘More to Give: London Millennials Working Towards a Better World’, actually highlights a philanthropic revolution waiting to happen – if employers and charities can get their head around the values-driven mindset of a younger generation.

As our research shows, these ‘more than money millennials’ actively seek out companies with big philanthropic footprints as 42 percent say that whether companies offer opportunities to get involved in supporting charities and community groups is important to them and 46 percent agreed that employees are increasingly looking for companies which aim for social and environmental value as well as business success and profit

Millennials also believe they themselves gain from opportunities to give back as 62 percent believe that opportunities at work to get involved in supporting charities and community groups help employees to develop work-related skills;

The findings point to a new and mutually-rewarding relationship between business and charity; in which charity is the ‘millennial magnet’ for businesses wanting to attract the best young talent.

Even the City of London’s Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow spies the opportunity for businesses open to charities stating recently that “Quite simply, giving is good for you. Wherever philanthropy has been factored into a business-plan and employee engagement programmes, we see a business which is flourishing in every possible way. It goes without saying that this is a ‘win-win’ situation.”

For charities concerned about the death of the baby boomer donor base, working with businesses to engage willing working millennials is a real opportunity, particularly when we consider that 150,000 of London’s SMEs currently have no CSR programmes at all, according to recent report from Heart of the City outlining the role SME’s can play in a responsible society.