Give Millennials What They Want [a Cause to Invest in]


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We live in a rapidly evolving economic climate.

The job market is changing, and so are people’s purchasing habits. In 2018, Amazon’s share of the eCommerce market alone hit a whopping 49%, meaning that almost half of all online purchases funnel through their site.

And that percentage has only increased during the pandemic.

It isn’t hard to guess why this is. Amazon makes shopping easy. From ordering to fulfillment, to delivery, Amazon has busied itself cornering every stage of the purchasing process in ways that can feel increasingly personal and direct.

So is there a buyer segment that’s holding out against the allure of ease?


If there’s a trend to buck, Millennials will find it. Despite weathering back-to-back historic recessions, Millennials as a subset of the population are far more likely to support small businesses with their hard-earned dollar, even if that dollar won’t get them as much.

According to a 2018 AT&T poll, half of Millennials surveyed (ages 19-38) voiced a willingness to pay more to support small business, versus 42% of their parent’s generation, the Baby Boomers.

So why is this?

Any one-size-fits-all answer would rely on too many assumptions to be credible, but it’s easy to extrapolate from existing data that Millennials consider the causes a business supports and who profits from purchasing when they shop—much more than their parents do, in fact, and despite earning less on average.

This trend continues in the stock market as well.

These days, non-traditional investment opportunities abound, and Millennials are taking advantage. So-called “thematic EFTs” that bunch fractional business shares into categories based on missions or causes are exceedingly popular with affluent Millennials.

A Fidelity Charitable study shows that in 2019, 77% of affluent Millennials put some amount of investment money into a business that supports social or environmental causes, either indirectly or directly, through their technology or products.

So what does this mean for your business?

Businesses beware.

According to a 2015 study by Deloitte, almost $24 trillion of wealth will be transferred from older generations to Millennials in America alone over the next 15 years. And all signs point to this resulting in a massive shift in the way companies will have to do business.

And this is because Millennials are on the hunt for companies that look out for their employees, give back to the community, and care about the environment.

Former British Lawmaker and economist Chuck Umunna says businesses should “watch out.” Umunna says that Millennials invest more militantly in socially and environmentally-minded companies.

The Bank of America recently found that the top so-called ESG funds (environmental, social, and governance) have outperformed the bottom 50 top stocks by 22 percent during the coronavirus pandemic so far.

So whether or not your business is trading publicly, use this information as a barometer. Millennials care. Not about their wealth exclusively, but about the well-being of the planet and society as a whole.

How should you adapt?

Bring your business ethos to the forefront. Show your customers how you treat your employees. Make this a part of your story, from advertising to content.

In the book Do Good to Do Better, author Sheryl Green said, “…if you’re looking to establish a positive brand for your company and forge long-term relationships with loyal customers that become an army of adoring fans, [cause marketing] is the way to go.”

You can connect with a nonprofit with these three steps:

1) Decide on a cause that lines up with your companies core values. Find a local organization that serves that cause.
2) Reach out to the organization and determine what your business can do to contribute (this may be volunteer time, talent, or financial support)
3) Share this effort with your audience. Invite your customers to support the nonprofit and let them know that their purchase goes back to support the mission.

But no matter what you do, remember:

Millennials are a cause-oriented subset of the market with an increasing amount of clout. And they want to know that their dollar is going somewhere impactful.

In other words, “Do Good To Do Better.”

Colby Flood
A pioneer in the digital marketing space, Colby Flood is the Owner at Brighter Click. He started his career as a Marketing Director in the Nonprofit sector, before moving on to start his own business. Driven by a mission to increase giving, Colby is best known for inspiring businesses to connect with Nonprofits that align with their core values.


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