Green That Counts

There is a lot of talk about being socially conscious -- the Millennial generation has been marked by its unique viewpoint of being green and was raised to believe things like: recycling is not a choice, littering is uncool, and volunteering is a fun thing to do with their friends. But ultimately, there is a lot of criticism about the effort they really want to put in. Are they only willing to sit back and do the minimal amount while expecting the world?

For example, many companies and brands have built social cause campaigns around providing rewards to those who give, and the greenwashing backlash being used to market a product to appeal to this generation has resulted in a lot of concern about how authentic this Millennial mindset really is. In the end, the question that brands and companies continue to return to is: how much does the Millennial generation care?

In a survey of 1,300 high school and college students, we found that most (72%) Millennials have a specific cause they invest in. Plus, as it turns out, they are pretty good about giving what they can to this cause -- with almost 8 in 10 (79%) saying they are regularly volunteering time and half (50%) regularly donating money to their cause.



And that $5 text donation that is frequently pointed to as an example of how this generation cares to do little more than lift a finger (or thumb), does not reflect the gift given to the cause near and dear to their hearts. In fact, among those who donate money to a cause they believe in, the average donation made is nearly $80 per year! And although high school girls tend to initially give more than the boys ($70 vs. $59, respectively), once they enter college, the average donation for girls stays roughly level while the boys amount nearly doubles ($66 vs. $104, respectively).

Clearly, Millennials are willing to invest in the cause but ultimately, companies and brands want to know how they fit in. This is where Millennials' willingness to open up their wallets comes through. Overall, 7 in 10 (70%) high school and college students would be willing to pay more for a product that is connected to a cause in some way.

And, when we ask just how much they're willing to give -- we find that when a charity is on the receiving end, Millennials will open their wallets to reward that brand for its positive efforts. For example, nearly half (47%) are willing to pay $1 to $3 more for food and beverages. That may sound small, but considering the average price of a bottle of soda, and this is an increase of nearly double or more. The same story is true across other categories including health & beauty products (46% would pay an additional $1-$3), cleaning products (45%), and entertainment (41%). Either way, a company can look at this kind of information and realize that if they make an authentic investment in a relevant cause then the consumers will make an investment in them.

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