Charity and Change: Millennials Making a Difference

I was in the 9th grade on 9/11, I was a freshman in college during Hurricane Katrina, and I graduated during the Great Recession with one of the highest unemployment rates in history. I have watched a system breakdown and my story is the same as every other Millennial out there. These are the events that have shaped my generation. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that as consumers we seek corporate transparency and social responsibility.

Taking On the World

Researchers and analysts have used dozens of words when describing the Millennial generation. One often cited is “ambitious.” We are a goal-oriented lot with the need to repair all of the things we have seen collapse over the past two decades. In short, we want to save the world. According to the Millennial Impact Report, 83% of Millennials donated to a charitable organization in 2012. Many more are volunteering their time and finding ways to fundraise in their communities. We have found that doing good feels good, and we want the brands we support to align with our values.

Supporting Our Values

It’s more than releasing the amount of money you gave to charities. It’s more than supporting the program you sponsored for one month. Millennials see it as so much more than that. My generation wants to be involved with brands that demonstrate strong, socially responsible core values and exemplify them in everything they do.  It’s this genuine passion for a shared ideal that’s going to win over this generation, and I mean genuine. Don’t underestimate the power of the Millennials to turn their back on a brand that goes against their social conscience.

Brands We Stand By

For example, Whole Foods is a brand that has stayed committed to their environmental and community promises. With the creation of the Local Producer Loan program, Whole Planet Foundation, and its sustainable practices, Whole Foods has proven they are a brand we skeptical Millennials can trust. It’s also no coincidence that many of us young whippersnappers are walking around in a comfy pair of TOMS. This company started with a promise: you buy a pair of shoes, and we’ll buy a pair for someone in need. It’s a simple premise and a mission Millennials want to be a part of. The brand has expanded into eye wear and recently opened “The Marketplace” where people can shop other social entrepreneurs by cause, region or brand. Even with  all of their success, they have never waivered from their original mission. Millennials trust and appreciate that. Yes, we love our smartphones, we text too much, and we take way too many photos of our food and ourselves. But under all that silliness is a generation who will stand strong and make a difference.. We just want to change the world— which doesn’t seem impossible to us. If you’re a Millennial, share the brands you love to follow that support your values in the comments below.
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