Millennials are in debt: this isn’t news. We know that they’re sinking in student loans, feeling high levels of homebuyer’s remorse and notoriously murdering the once-thriving diamond market. From the outside, things look bleak. But one key financial insight about Millennials tells a slightly different story – one that’s cautiously optimistic: they’re giving to good causes at unprecedented rates.
Sure, this seems like a bit of a paradox. Owing significantly more money than previous generations isn’t usually linked to increased giving. Among Millennials, the numbers tell a different story – one with surprising results. Not only is Millennial giving increasingly frequent and widespread, but the driving need to create social change on a strict budget has given rise to a new technological era of “charity.” Admittedly, it’s complicated, but it’s also the key to understanding where social impact is headed.
A Quick Overview:
For many Millennials, debt isn’t background noise in their daily life – it’s part of their identity. Stress related to these debts are impacting performance and physical health on a routine basis. Debt is also the top priority in job decisions, with 95% reporting they’d take a position if it offered loan repayment programs. Essentially, debt isn’t something Millennials can mentally set aside in the pursuit of fulfilling the social causes they believe most in. Financial responsibility wins every time – so how can the two work together and lessen the burden of giving?
“Free Cash for Good” – The Solution We’ve Been Looking For?
With these takeaways in mind, consumer tech didn’t waste a second testing the water for solutions. The emerging strategy we’re most excited about is the “free cash for good” trend. This encompasses apps that give users free money to donate to good causes. Think of it as the all-grown-up version of the “a portion of this product’s proceeds go to charity.” Apps like Inspired are empowering people to generate free donations to causes simply by living their daily lives. For the uninitiated, the Inspired app works as follows:
What’s revolutionary about this model is its simple – but impactful – contribution to this generation’s major dilemma: how do we sustain our need to create change without free-flowing cash? Instead of choosing to either impact a critical cause like assistance for those experiencing homelessness in Chicago or make your loan payment on time this month, the Inspired app turns your bill payment into a donation – at no extra cost. Because the company covers all donations generated through users’ daily spending, users never pay anything to do good and they’re able to do it multiple times a day – rather than every few months when they have extra cash. For those living with the daily pinch of $36,000+ in debt, app-based free giving offers a no-compromise solution to charitable giving.
So, to the inevitability of major debt and the almost biological drive of the Millennial generation to affect social change, we raise you a free smartphone app. Sure, it seems like a particularly simple solution to a much larger existential crisis, but if new tech tells us anything, it’s that a commitment to do good on the micro-level turns into macro-level-impact remarkably fast. A social impact life-hack, if you will. And what’s more Millennial than that?