Embrace, engage and encourage: THE GENEROUS GENERATION

Cheryl Chapman
Companies small and large have a greater role to play in encouraging their talent

Millennials will make up the majority of the global workforce by 2025 (between 55 per cent and 75 per cent) according to various statistics. That's a fantastic opportunity for both charities and businesses, if they can adapt to meet the needs of this socially-motivated generation.

Who are the millennials? Agewise they are the under 35s who entered the workplace in the early 2000s. They're tech savvy, diverse and connected. They're activists for personal rights, as well as less prominent causes such as mental health and gender equality. They're blurring the lines between home and work, social and business.

They have experienced economic and social turbulence unknown to the “me me me” generations of the 80s, have small hope of ever buying a property and are instigators of a sharing economy.

As a result, they take a different view of ownership and responsibility than previous generations. As our two reports published earlier this year reveal, millennials have different expectations of what employers can contribute, desire more philanthropic information and seek workplace and other opportunities to give time or money.

London’s millennial workers – particularly the youngest – want to give more than they currently do, according to our first report “More to Give: Millennials Working Towards a Better World (July 2015)”, commissioned from the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) at Cass Business School.

35 per cent of respondents aged under 35 want to give more money than they already do, compared with 21 per cent in the 35 and over group. Similarly, 53 per cent of the under-35s want to volunteer more than they do, and this reaches 60 per cent in the youngest 18-24 age group. Compare that with just 35 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

Our second report, “More to Give: Millennials Networking for a Better World (November 2015)”, highlights a growing trend for young people to join networks and collectively donate their money and skills to smaller charities.

It shows over four-fifths of network members in London want to use their skills and professional experience to make a difference, and three-quarters say their involvement in giving has improved their own leadership and motivational skills.

Peter White, Senior Associate at PwC and BeyondMe network member, says: “By tackling a cause with friends and colleagues, you can make a greater difference. I’ve found BeyondMe’s model of donating time, skills and money a powerful approach to creating social impact. BeyondMe also helps develop my leadership skills, expand my network and is an experience I enjoy.”

City solicitor Stephanie Brobbey, a member and trustee for The City Funding Network that raised over £30,000 for six small charities this year, says: “Although I am not in the high net worth category, I know that my contributions have an influence, particularly when I am able to see for myself how lives have been impacted. Finding out about smaller charities that seek to address quite specific causes has developed my awareness about issues and has changed my attitudes, opinions and behavioural patterns. Ultimately this makes a difference in the long term.”

Kawika Solidum, CEO of BeyondMe explains how the millennial generation today is asking more of their employers and asking more of themselves. “Study after study points to the importance of fulfilling a social purpose or contributing to the wellbeing of society as drivers for those at the start of their career climb.

“BeyondMe, like other networks, was built by millennials, for millennials. We're a social enterprise that motivates and mobilises City professionals to commit their time, skills and money as teams to causes they find meaningful. It goes beyond a direct debit or a donating a day of time.”

Companies small and large have a greater role to play in encouraging their talent to give back in a way that both develops skills and is meaningful to charity. By striving for both, businesses can engage the full potential of their employees, especially millennials, to make a difference using their day-job skills.

We estimate that if one per cent of London employees became involved in the network giving movement this could generate an additional £20m a year and thousands of hours of pro bono support for charities by 2020.

To generate much-needed extra resources for the important causes we all care about, we ask those involved in developing the next generation of London’s workforce through its CSR, HR or talent departments to help network giving achieve its potential by committing to:

  • Encourage your firms’ social action and giving initiatives to develop ways of engaging the next generation of business leaders
  • Engage your millennial professionals in evolving corporate activities that match their passion and drive their performance
  • Embrace your role as an advocate for this type of social action whether you represent an entire corporation or you line manage millennial professionals

Your impact will be to grow a new generation of generous leaders and as a business become a millennial magnet.

For more information and to download the research visit www.cityphilanthropy.org.uk