National Edge Survey
Generation Y population: 51 million
• How many give: 56 percent
• Average amount given annually: $341
• Average number of charities given to: 3.6
• Estimated annual contributions: $9.7 billion
*TCB Readers in this Generation:
• Help support two (24 percent), three (27 percent), or four (24 percent) charities annually
• Prefer to be contacted by charities through e-mail (41 percent) or by participating in a walk, run, or other event that supports the charity (18 percent)
• First heard about their top charity through word of mouth (42 percent) or at work (18 percent)
• Have made charitable contributions in last two years at a fundraising event (77 percent), via a Web site (71 percent), and by sending a check by mail (44 percent)
At 29, Jesse Bergland strives to find the right balance between establishing himself in his career, getting off on the right foot financially, and giving back to the community. He enjoys philanthropy, participating in young leadership circles, and donating money to his and his wife’s alma maters. Yet he wants to do more. He just hasn’t quite figured out which causes to emphasize and how to divvy up his giving between time and treasure.
“The biggest thing our generation wants is engaged philanthropy. We want to be able to give financially but we also want to care about the cause and give our time as well,” says Bergland, a field director at Northwestern Mutual, an insurance and financial services company with a local presence. “How do we balance giving time and financial resources, even when we feel too broke to give?”
Bergland takes a multi-pronged approach to giving back. He has money automatically withdrawn from his paycheck for charity, and he pedaled in the MS150 biking fundraiser three times. He recently captained the team “30 for $30K,” which recruited 34 riders who together raised more than $24,000.
He has also mentored students at the Carlson School of Management, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
He recently became director of Torch Community, a community-building organization for young professionals.
“People need more face time and less Facebook,” Bergland says. “I’m from Roseau, a town of 3,000 in northern Minnesota where community happened because everyone knows everyone. It’s hard to create a sense of community in Minneapolis—people don’t know how to get engaged. Our generation is looking for ways to do something meaningful beyond their 9 to 5 job.”
In working with Torch, Bergland has found that his fellow Millennials learn about events mainly through word-of-mouth and friends instead of Web sites and traditional marketing. He says that he is more likely to support an organization when a friend is involved.
*Statistics about giving habits among TCB readers came from a survey that 1,189 people completed online in December and January.