Good News: Millennial Giving Is Increasing

Charitable giving among Millennial donors is up, according to a new report by Giving USA and the fundraising firm Dunham+Company. In 2022, millennial households gave 40% more to charity, on average, than they did in 2016 — growing their average annual contribution from $942 to $1,323. During the same period, average annual giving by both baby boomer and Gen X households fell — by 12% and 4%, respectively.

The report draws from two online surveys of U.S. donors who gave $20 or more to charity the year before the survey was conducted. A 2022 survey polled 1,400, and a 2016 survey polled 1,391 donors. Both were conducted with the research firm Campbell Rinker.

Boomers, the oldest generation surveyed (born 1946-1964), predictably gave the largest amounts to charity, contributing an average of $2,921 in 2016 and $2,568 in 2022. As cited above, millennials (born 1981-1996) were the second-most generous. Gen X households (born 1965-1980) ranked third, making an average annual donation of $1,265 in 2016 and $1,220 in 2022.

Millennials and Religion

The survey also showed growth in millennials’ attendance of virtual or in-person religious services, while boomer and Gen X church-attendance rates kept roughly apace with one another. Rick Dunham, chair of Dunham+Company, speculates a connection: “Generally, you’ll find that there is a correlation between frequency of attendance of religious services and giving,” he says.

Places of worship ranked among the top three charities supported by each generation polled. However, giving to places of worship fell from 2016 to 2022 among millennials (-31%), boomers (-16%), and Gen X (-41%).

Millennial, Gen X, and boomer donors also ranked faith-based organizations — including international aid groups like Compassion International and World Vision — in their top-three cause areas. Millennials’ giving to these charities increased by 130%, jumping from an average of $106 in 2016 to $243 in 2022. Gen X donors upped their giving to these causes by 51% — from $105 in 2016 to $159 in 2022 — and boomers gave 98% more. The oldest donors contributed an average of $155 yearly to faith-based organizations in 2016 and $307 in 2022.

Boomers alone gave enough to education causes to put those charities in their top three, even upping their giving to them by 52%. Dunham suspects this is a side effect of aging, that older donors are thinking more about leaving legacies at their alma maters.

For a helpful summary of the research, see the Chronicle of Philanthropy, from which this write-up was adapted. For additional research on giving trends by age cohorts, see ECFA’s report, The Generosity Project, at

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.