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Millennial Millionaires: What Your Youngest Major Gift Donors Want

Posted by Rory Green on Jul 9, 2015 10:00:00 AM

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Editorial note: Today's blog comes from guest blogger Rory Green. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rory!

In 2013 millennial billionaire Mark Zuckerberg gave $1 billion to charity.

One. Billion. Dollars.


He’s 31 years old.

Traditionally major gift donors are much older. Their kids are out of university and they have the time and resources to focus on their community.

Yet many millennials are bucking this trend and giving big gifts at young ages.

I have a prediction – more and more millennials are going to be giving major gifts in the years to come. And we need to be ready for it and understand what they want!

So, what do they want? 

They want to create a better future, not plug a leak.

These aren’t donors interested in giving to need. What interests them is vision. Focus on what their donations will achieve, not how badly you need the money.

Donor Acquisition Webinar


They want to be listened to, not talked at.

Make sure you spend time developing a relationship with millennial prospects. Ask lots of questions, and learn as much about them as you can. That will allow you to build a relationship based on the values and goals of your donor.

They want to fix the problem with you, not give you money to fix the problem.

Millennial entrepreneurs have solved problems you and I don’t even fully understand. Take advantage of their fresh eyes creativity and look for ways to get their advice and input into your programs. They may surprise you with new and innovative ways to serve your beneficiaries.

“Younger donors in our area are more interested than donors in the past with being hands-on and more involved with the groups they donate to, It’s not the model of writing a check at year’s end”-Jennifer Ratay, Executive Director Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund

They want giving to fit with their life.

For a millennial, the charities they support isn’t something that they do – it’s who they are. The gift needs to fit into the narrative of their life. Show them how supporting your cause is a natural extension of their core beliefs and values if you want to truly be successful!

Donor Acquisition Webinar



rory_greenRory Green - Rory Green has been fundraising since the age of 10, when she volunteered to help run her school’s annual Bike-A-Thon for juvenile cancer research. Fundraising became her vocation at 14, when she lost a friend to Leukemia. Rory Green has been in the philanthropic sector for over eight years and is currently the Associate Director, Advancement for the Faculty of Applied Science at Simon Fraser University. Rory has also worked in major and corporate giving at BCIT and the Canadian Cancer Society. Her passion is donors. How to listen to them. How to talk to them. How to help them feel better about themselves through philanthropy than they ever thought possible. In her spare time Rory is the founder and editor of Fundraiser Grrl, the fundraising community’s go-to source for comic relief.

Topics: major gift fundraising,, millennials donors,

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