Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Capstone: Campus Only Access

Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Studies

First Advisor

Abbi Haggerty


It is estimated that by 2052, a $41 trillion generational transfer of wealth will occur, and that $6 billion of this sum will be directed toward the nonprofit sector. Currently the Greatest Generation and the baby boomer generational cohort are the largest segments of supporters for nonprofit organizations, both as volunteers and donors. As these generations die, the millennial generational cohort stands to inherit the largest generational shift of wealth ever. Because of this, it is imperative for nonprofit organizations to understand the millennial cohorts’ attitudes toward philanthropy. Following a comprehensive review of the existing literature, this study used interviews with nonprofit professionals to confirm if the prior findings that the millennial generational cohort is equally as likely to engage with nonprofit organizations as prior generational cohorts were valid. This study concludes that this is in fact the case; however, the millennial generational cohort has an expanded view of what it means to behave philanthropically and the motivations for engagement are different than those seen in prior generational cohorts. Dollars per donation were also reported to be much lower among this cohort, with millennials preferring to diversify donations to many different organizations. If this trend does not change as the millennial generational cohort enters a more stable phase of life, nonprofit organizations will potentially need to expand their donor bases or cut expenses. Strategies for cultivating this generational cohort as both volunteers and donors are outlined, taking into consideration the unique motivations for engagement among the millennial cohort. This study also found that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the differences in philanthropic behavior between generational cohorts to narrow, potentially allowing nonprofit organizations to no longer need to segment outreach efforts based on age demographics.