In recognizing a key source to discuss during my thesis research, I was immediately drawn to a report I stumbled upon while reading numerous articles via The Chronicle of Philanthropy. As my thesis has developed in the last few months, so has my research. Originally focusing on crowdsourcing and its subcategories of crowdcurating and crowdfunding in museums, I was mainly attracted to articles on the strategies and case studies of them used throughout the field. In redirecting my thesis to focus on crowdfunding independently as a method for fundraising and the cultivation of the online Millennial donor, I set out to find data and trends to support my argument. As the field of crowdfunding is still in its infancy, data surrounding the subject of generational trends is close to none (as of yet). However, in broadening my search to the study behind the Millennial generation, I began to connect the information that I was looking for together through various studies and research.
The Millennial Impact Report, a study done by Achieve every year since 2009, reports on the attitudes, trends, beliefs, and behaviors of the Millennial generation. This year, coincidentally, the report focused on the Millennial’s perspective behind not only giving, but online giving specifically. This became a key source of information in supporting my thesis. This report not only outlines the characteristics of Millennials but also their interest and position on donating to nonprofits. While the report does not recognize crowdfunding as the method of attracting the Millennial donor, the trends and data suggests that through the opportunities that crowdfunding presents, it would prove as a sustainable and successful approach in attracting this donor as an active constituent. The above graphic represents a snapshot of how data referring to the online Millennials behavior fits into the crowdfunding model. For example, almost half of the respondents (46 percent) reported to having donated to a cause via website.
My thesis will further outline these characteristics and trends, connecting the Millennial donor’s behaviors to the inherent characteristics that crowdfunding carries. While the data behind crowdfunding and the Millennial connection may not be public yet, it is my hope that this information has become important enough to be collected soon.