Generation X Poised to be the Next Big Giver in Philanthropy

Blackbaud, Inc. has released findings from its Next Generation of American Giving study that explores charitable habits and multichannel preferences of Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, Matures, and includes a first look at the charitable perspective of up-and-coming Generation Z. In the latest installment of this series, last published in 2013, the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact™ shares insight into each age group’s giving practices and potential, top giving channels by generation, and evolving donor expectations, attitudes, and habits.

Key findings include:

  • Fewer Americans are giving, so understanding and retaining the donors you have is more important than ever. With the exception of Baby Boomers, each generation has seen a decline in the percentage of cohort members who say they give to charity since 2013.
  • Giving is distributed across more channels than ever before. Except for social media, reported use of giving channels has declined or remained static across the board from 2013 to 2018. Younger generations are more open to a wider range of solicitation channels.
  • Baby Boomers remain the most generous generation. Boomers say they gave nearly $60 billion to nonprofits last year. That represents 41% of all money donated during that period. Boomers are the only generation seeing a directional increase in the percentage of cohort members who say they give.
  • Generation X is approaching prime giving years. More than 20% of Gen-Xers say they expect to increase their giving in the coming year. A significant number of Gen-Xers report they are in the process of making decisions about where their money will go after they’re gone.
  • Millennial giving is still a work in progress. Approximately 34 million Millennials contributed 14% of all money donated over the past year. Building relationships with Millennial donors is a long-term investment.

“One surprising lesson we learned came from insight on Generation X, and numbers-wise, while the Millennial generation is larger, there are significantly more Xers than you might think,” said Mark Rovner, author of the study and founding principal, Sea Change Strategies.

“Regardless of the fascination with Millennials, Gen X is poised to be the next big thing for philanthropy. As the giving baton passes, a debate always rages as to whether giving attitudes and habits are products of the unique outlook of each generation, or whether these attitudes and habits evolve with changing life stages. The Next Generation of American Giving study provides evidence for both perspectives.”

You can download the full study at