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The Shifts in Generational Giving

Back in 2016, Dunham+Company set out to understand the differences between the various generations of donors, with a specific desire to understand the emerging generation of millennial donors. In 2022, with that generation maturing and a new generation (Gen Z) emerging, we thought it was time to update this study.

What we discovered was fascinating on many levels. For example, the millennial generation of donors is quickly emerging as a force in philanthropy. 

As you can see from the accompanying chart, millennial donors have significantly increased their giving from 2016 to 2022. They have now surpassed Gen X in average household giving by $103 per annum (eight percent), having increased their annual giving by $381 or 40 percent and Gen X has decreased by four percent to $1,220.


In addition, millennials are highly engaged in their faith, being the most likely generation to attend worship services both in person and virtually.


In addition, direct mail and text are both becoming an increasing influence on donors’ giving. In fact, millennials are emerging as the generation that prefers receiving direct mail and is most likely to respond to both direct mail and text from the charities they support.



Finally, the smartphone has become nearly ubiquitous among all generations of donors and is increasingly used to make charitable contributions.



Seeing these shifts in generational giving, here are a few takeaways:

  1. Understand that millennial donors are significantly committed to their faith and should be engaged through more robust communications.
  2. Double down on multi-channel communication knowing that traditional channels are still strong and desirable, but text is growing as a preferred medium for communication. ​
  3. Mobile-Optimize!
  4. Online giving is becoming the preferred way for donors to give so ensure a great user experience.


To access the full report, CLICK HERE.