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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Sarah Landman | author
Mar 01, 2020
Filed under Guest Editorial

Get ready for millennial millionaires

Millennials are individuals born between 1981 and 1996, and there are currently 79 million millennials comprising 25 percent of the U.S. population. According to the 2019 Wealth Engine Millennial Wealth Report, there are currently 700,000 millennial millionaires in the United States. This number is set to increase dramatically because millennials are on track to inherit between $30 trillion and $70 trillion by 2030.

Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky, a psychologist whose work focuses on generational thinking and behavior, defines a generation as “a group of individuals bracketed by years that share common experiences that may result in common behaviors.” The following behaviors have been attributed to the millennial generation and may influence the way high net-worth millennials make philanthropic decisions.

1. Millennials care about impact over institution. According to the CASE Foundation Millennial Impact Report, 90 percent of millennials are motivated to give because of a compelling mission, not an institution. They want to see the impact of their philanthropic giving and will stop giving to one institution and give to another if they believe their gift can make more of a difference.

2. Millennials value experiences over things. When a nonprofit makes the process of giving and engaging with a nonprofit a special and unique experience, nonprofits will attract millennials to their cause.

3. Millennials value time over all forms of currency. When a gift officer asks for the time of a millennial, there needs to be a clear purpose and agenda for the meeting.

4. Millennials demand transparency. They want to know what their gifts are paying for and the impact they are having on the mission of a nonprofit. They appreciate frequent updates on philanthropic investments. They want to make sure their money is going toward a fiscally responsible organization. They are heavily influenced by their giving experience and want to share it with their peers.

5. Millennials value authentic leadership and relationships. In a world where they may have thousands of connections online but very few in real life, authentic relationships have become increasingly important to millennials. They want authentic interactions with the organizations they support and the leaders who represent those organizations. This is a challenge, because the average tenure of a gift officer is 18-24 months, which does not allow the kind of time necessary to build the authentic relationships millennials are craving.

They want personalized communication and interactions. They want to know the nonprofits they give to truly know them and the things that they care about at a leadership level.

6. Millennials grew up believing in the ability to change the world for good. They are generous and want to make a difference. Eighty-four percent of millennials give to charity.

SARAH LANDMAN has served as a major gift officer and leader of two national fundraising consulting firms. She has helped raise over $500 million for nonprofits during her 15-year career, and currently serves as the senior vice president of insightful, powered by NewsBank, Inc., a new software that helps nonprofits know more about donors, prospects, and the topics they care about to promote better philanthropic engagement ( A member of the Naples Chapter, Landman lives in Naples, Fla. with her husband and children.


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