Research Outline

Social Impact from the lens of GenZ & Millennials


To understand how millennials and GenZ choose which social impact causes and organizations to support and donate to, specifically, the factors that influence their decisions, what tools/platforms they use to make these decisions, the pain points and challenges they face when choosing social impact causes, and how this differs from those with a high net worth or family funds to use for donating (if at all).

Early Findings

Millennials and Social Impact Causes

The Millennial Impact Report is a great resource for understanding the behavior of the millennial generation when it comes to supporting social impact causes. The findings from the report have been used to produce the profile presented in this initial hour of research.

Factors Influencing Their Choices

The main factors that influence Millennials when selecting a social impact cause to support are peer opinions, results that show real impact, the use of stories, and transparency.

Peer Opinions

  • Millennials are the most digitally connected generation, especially in terms of their social media presence which they use to share any and everything with their family and friends, including social impact causes that they care about.
  • This was seen very clearly in 2014 when hundreds of thousands of persons supported the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised millions of dollar for research into a cure.
  • Millennials pay attention to the causes that their friends are supporting and the latest Millennial Impact 10 year report found that they are largely influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers.

Results Over Reputation


  • Millennials appreciate "authenticity" and this is important in deciding the brands and organizations they support. In fact, a 2017 Consumer Content Report found that 90% of Millennials say authenticity is important to them when making their decisions.
  • Furthermore, millennials prefer to experience the work of an organization without having to be on-site and before they decide to contribute substantially.
  • When it comes to social impact causes, millennials expect this experience and authenticity in the form of stories of those they're helping, which allows to build a personal connection with the cause.


  • Related to the fact that millennials want to see the tangible results of their contributions, they also want to see exactly where their money is going and how it is being used.
  • This is because millennials understand that the internet has led to increasing numbers of scam artists and they are highly suspicious of people who ask for their money.
  • Stories like that about the Cancer Fund of America which raised $187 million in donations claiming to aid cancer patients but instead used the money to fund luxury goods, expensive travel and other frivolous purchases have left them asking for full transparency from organizations before they trust their mission.

Summary of Early Findings

  • The initial hour of research was used to ensure that all the information asked for was publicly available for the Millennial and Gen Z generations of social impact donors.
  • We also focused on the first part of the requested information for Millennials and presented four factors influencing their how they select which social impact causes to support..
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below to continue the research and address the remaining information for both Millennials and Generation Z, based on what can be found in the public domain.