The Mysterious Case of Increased Kindness
The overall amount, the sheer volume, of ‘giving’ going on globally right now has never come close to being paralleled. The onslaught of new needs, and new levels of compassion and community, brought on by The Corona Virus is pushing already lofty charitable statistics into unknown territory. Last year Americans gave over $440 billion to Non-for Profit organizations — and the giving is not gearing up to stop. Charities can expect overall growth of 4.8 percent this year, and another 5.1 percent in 2021, exceeding historical ten-year, twenty-five-year, and forty-year annualized averages.
Charitable Giving Geared to Go Up
And — although there are economic indicators (like above-average growth in the S&P, growth in personal income, and growth in the GDP) and global issues that explain in part why giving is growing… there is something else at play underfoot, that may not be so simple to explain away. Is our world changing? Are people getting kinder? Do people — and companies — care more now than ever before?
Informed Millennials Insist on Giving So, why is giving growing? Experts in the field have a 2-pronged explanation as to why being benevolent is blowing up — demographic evolution and the growth in corporate giving trends. Let’s start with demographics. Why are millennials more giving than older generations?
Many will credit the internet. Officially opened for business in1991, the World Wide Web has united the world — and changed it forever. Millennials, having been born between 1981 and 1996, were the first generation with the wide world at their finger tips — quite literally. This up close and personal view of how others are suffering, and the often logical and simple tech solutions potentially available to help, has changed the giving game.
A whopping 84% of Millennials give to charitable organizations, significantly out-giving other generations (Only 72% of Baby Boomers, and 59% of Generation X give). And let’s remember, that this ‘giving’ is in the face of some very difficult financial realities. The Millennial unemployment rate for ages 20 to 24 is 7.2% — almost double the national average.
At the same time, student loan debt continues to buckle this generation, having climbed to an astonishing $1.4 trillion — with 9.6% of it presently past due! And yet — still — they give! Last year alone, Millennials gave 60% of all of the relief funds raised for fires, hurricanes and other such natural disasters. Even as Americans overall are giving less, these young earners are giving more — and they are playing an oversized role in changing how we fundraise — and how we donate.
What Have You Done for Them Lately? Not only do younger, more informed generations give more — they also expect the companies they do business with to give more. 2/3’s of Millennials are more likely to want to work for a company that gives to charity. Millennials are more likely than any other generations to buy products from a company that gives to charity, and more likely to recommend that business to a friend. 82% of Millennials say they choose employers who are directly involved in issues, charities or social initiatives that are important to them.
A New Type of Giving “Giving has changed”, explains entrepreneur, Ashley Heather. “It used to be that people would leave a lot of the world’s charitable decisions up to large corporations, and foundations. The companies we worked for, and purchased from, would donate funds for a library or a hospital wing and that was that.
Today — people want to feel part of the solution. They want a clear philanthropic, giving-back component to the companies they deal with. They want to know what their money, and allegiance, is doing for other people in the world - specifically! They want to feel connected. Involved. They want to feel helpful. Statistics show that modern givers really like to be included in the experience of giving. Only 29% of Millennials favor monetary donations while 41% say they are far more likely to donate clothes, food and other supplies.
The Birth of Social-Minded Business
The social-minded business and consumer movement really got started with Tom’s Shoes. That was the first time founder Blake Mycoskie put his idea of One for One® to work, a business model that helps a person in need with every product purchased. What started as a simple shoe initiative, has given 86 million pairs of shoes to children in need since 2006.
Leading with authenticity and purpose — using the example of Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS
Through other like programs, Tom’s has also restored sight to over 600,000 people with their eyewear line, provided over 600,000 weeks of safe water, and delivered 25,000 safe birth kits globally to expect Mothers that need them. TOMS Shoes was eventually featured in Bill Gate’s Time Magazine article “How to Fix Capitalism.”
“I believe in Mycoskie’s model and to some degree we are utilizing it at our new organic meal delivery company, Honest Plate, one of our most recent ventures,” explains Heather.
Honest Plate — Ceaselessly looking to Give Back “Yes, we want Honest Plate to grow and do well, but at the center of our ethos is giving back. It has to be in your core, your company DNA. In everything we do, we look to give back. When Honest plate opened shortly before the break of the Corona Virus, we immediately thought about how to share as our business grew.
Honest Plate has supplied xxxx meals since the outbreak of the Corona Virus on Long Island’s East End
That’s how our “1 Week/1 World” program started. Now, For every 10 meals ordered, Honest Plate will deliver a whole week’s worth of delicious, healthy food to cancer patients through local charity, Fighting Chance! (Alternatively, you can also add an extra $100 donation to any weekly order, which will fund a week’s worth of meals for a local family under Fighting Chance’s care — a great help for families in crisis.)
People really love to know that the same beautiful, warm, healthful food they are eating is also being enjoyed by an individual in need of health and well being. I really believe the shared experience strikes imaginations, and emotions and brings the giver and the receiver much closer. I feel like we are connecting our customers directly with consumers in need — and that is where the magic is happening.
Local Businesses Banding Together Another venture I’m involved in, in addition to Honest Plate, is a private co-working and innovation community Called ‘The Spur’ with locations in both South and Easthampton. We deliver Honest Plate meals from those locations — and therefore are running our charity work from there as well. As more and more people heard how we were helping — they contacted us to help them help too! People watching people give back compels them to do the same. It’s been great watching The Spur develop into a place where people come together — and Giving gets done.
Honest Plate, The Spur and Stay Marquis collaborate to bring Southampton First Responders hearty, healthy meals.