Long Island Cares, Inc. recently contracted with The AIMsights Group to implement its own research project to gauge the interest of millennials specifically on Long Island in supporting the regional food bank, and to find out how the population feels about ending hunger and lifting people out of poverty in Nassau and Suffolk County. The research findings were quite revealing, and one fact became certain in that, millennials on Long Island are not typical of millennials across the country when it comes to philanthropy and donating to local charities. The research took place online from June 7-13, 2019. The survey captured the responses of 525 respondents including 309 millennials between the ages of 19-34; 110 members of Gen X between the ages of 39-54; and 106 Baby Boomers between the ages of 55-73. Respondents had to earn an annual household income of least $30,000, which is just about $3,000 above the national poverty level for a family of four in the United States.
I was not surprised with the responses we received from millennials when we asked about their relationship with money. Less than half of the millennials surveyed (48.8%) said that they are able to support themselves and have extra money to spend while, (37.1%) report that they budget to pay their bills and have limited extra cash. Finally, (15.2%) said that they have a hard time managing money and budgeting. When asked if they had $1,000 to spend, less than one-percent (0.95%) said that they would donate it to a charity. The vast majority of millennials (86.8%) would apply extra cash to pay bills including, loans or they would try to save some of it.
When asked what’s important in life, the majority of millennials surveyed (90.1%) said that being financially secure is the most important goal in their life. Being able to balance responsibilities and a social life accounted for (52%) of our responses, and just (27.2%) felt that it was important to help others. When it comes to charitable causes, (26.3%) identified Hunger and Poverty as an important cause for them. While (80%) of our respondents between the ages of 19-34 said they would donate to a charity they supported their donations would be split between cash and non-cash donations such as clothing and furniture. Most of our respondents also said that they would donate to a charity and cause based upon the recommendations of family members or friends. Millennials between the ages of 25-34 said they would donate monthly but the donation would average about $20. Those respondents between the ages of 35-38 said that they would donate twice per year.
Millennials are going to be difficult to cultivate as donors by Long Island nonprofits. The population on Long Island is struggling to pay their monthly bills, student loans and rent if they are fortunate enough to live independently. It’s doubtful that millennials will support annual dinners or golf outings, however they are willing to make small monetary contributions to causes they can relate to, and they certainly will donate if requested to support a coat or food drive. If the cost of living on Long Island continues to increase, there is the possibility that millennials will continue to leave our region, and we might be skipping a generation of potential donors. Although I’m not ready to give up on millennials as donors, it is going to be a challenge.
October 10, 2019