Millennials have altered the way nonprofits, companies and government must think of civic life and social good

ATLANTA| Sep 15, 2021

September 15, 2021 – Points of Light, a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world, today released a new report detailing the millennial generation’s perspective on civic life and what nonprofits, businesses and governments alike must do to harness and appeal to the passions of America’s largest generation.

The conducted by INFLUENCE|SG details how the unprecedented events of the past eighteen months – including a global pandemic, a movement for racial and social equity, a contentious U.S. presidential election and more – have altered millennials’ willingness to address social issues. Researchers found that the social issues prompting civic action have become highly personal for millennials. As uncertainty and fear are keeping some away from civic participation, many others are devoting time to educating themselves about social issues they find relevant to their own lives. COVID-19, mental health, climate change, employment, healthcare and fair wages topped the list of issues that millennials care the most about.

“The pandemic has shifted the way in which millennials approach civic life in a profound manner,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light. “The events of the past year have galvanized this generation to learn more about the issues, get involved in their local communities and take action to create a better world. Millennials also believe that companies should take a stand on social issues, meaning corporations need to spend time learning and getting involved in the important issues in our world.”

The study revealed several key themes on the millennial perspective on civic life:

  • Millennials view social issues through a very personal lens. Whereas social issues used to be something they volunteered for to help other people, they now see themselves as among those affected.
  • A large segment of civically active millennials is comprised of white, married, Midwestern males, ages 35-40 who are earning more than $100,000 a year.
  • Another large segment of civically active millennials is comprised of BIPOC females in the South, aged 25-29 who hold four-year degrees, but earn less than $50,000 a year at full-time jobs.
  • With few exceptions, “spent time learning more about the issue” was the number-one action millennials took to support social issues followed by “used social media” and “changed purchasing.”
  • Almost 50% of millennials believe more in civic engagement now than before the pandemic, 69% are more likely to volunteer, and 85% think people should help their community and the world.
  • Millennials believe companies should be actively involved in social issues, and two-thirds visit corporate websites at least somewhat often to learn about their efforts. Black American males, especially, think companies should meet with consumers about the effects of their products and services.

The report also supports Points of Light’s Civic Circle. The Civic Circle is a framework to help individuals understand that doing good comes in many forms and to connect them with opportunities to influence social issues. This framework also helps organizations – including businesses, nonprofits and government agencies – identify the pathways to involvement their employees can seek.

“Organizations will have to adopt new mindsets about their communications. Instead of sharing the latest need with a call to action, entities must realize they are reaching out to people who feel personally affected and want to learn more,” the report states. “Rather than asking millennials to help you reach a goal, you’ll need to ask millennials what they need and how you can work alongside each other to have the biggest impact.”

On October 7, 2021 from 1:00-2:00 PM ET, Points of Light will host a special webinar to discuss key findings and the full report. Click here to register. You can view the full millennial civic engagement report here. You can also find more information on Points of Light here.


About Points of Light

Points of Light is a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips, and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. We envision a world in which every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies. Through 177 affiliates across 38 countries, and in partnership with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 16 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, visit www.pointsoflight.org.


INFLUENCE|SG is an advisory firm focused on helping companies and causes bolster their social change initiatives by informing through research, guiding through strategy and connecting through new partnerships. We create and drive involvement in our clients’ social change work. influencesg.com

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