From Achieve

The Millennial Impact Project is the most comprehensive and trusted study of the millennial generation (born 1980-2000) an their involvement with causes.

Since beginning the study in 2009, Achieve continues to lead the national research team in partnership with the Case Foundation.

With more than 75,000 participants in its studies, The Millennial Impact Project has helped organizations, corporations and individuals around the world understand the best approaches to cultivating interest and involvement by this generation.

Each year, The Millennial Impact Project looks at millennials and their engagement with causes through a new lens designed to further inform our understanding. The first four reports in this project (available at focused on the relationships between millennials and nonprofit organizations. In 2014 and 2015, this focus shifted to examine millennial behavior and attitudes toward involvement with giving, volunteering and social good specifically as it occurs in the workplace, including how relationships between employees and their superiors impact cause engagement.

Why study millennials?

As of 2015, millennials are the largest generation in the country,1 as well as in the workplace.2 As this generation continues to shape the way people work, interact, give, volunteer and make buying decisions, their preferences will ultimately become the norm.  Studying this generation now better prepares companies and organizations for understanding and engaging with individuals.

It is important to note that the purpose of The Millennial Impact Project is not to compare this generation to older generations. Methodologies related to the cause perceptions and behaviors of other generations do not exist and thus cannot be replicated in the study of the millennial generation for true comparisons. Moreover, social and cultural norms across generations are not constants. The purpose of The Millennial Impact Project is to understand the generation’s philanthropic motivations and behaviors in and of themselves, as the researchers understand the vital roles this generation plays in causes today and will continue to play in the future.

HYPOTHESES  By the end of this study (released pre- and post-Election Day 2016), the research team hypothesizes that millennials’ interests in social causes will change during the political season based on their individual political alignment, the final candidates chosen to represent those ideologies and the important causes associated with these candidates and ideologies. The team also hypothesizes that during this time, millennials’ cause-related engagement will increase on both social media platforms (online activism), as well as through cause participation such as volunteering, donating, signing petitions, etc. (activism) supporting their causes of interest.

Why study millennial cause engagement?

As mentioned, this research team has studied the millennial generation’s engagement in social issues through various lenses.  To date, the research team consistently has found that millennials like to “do good,” and that their cause engagement begins when an organization speaks to a social issue they’re passionate about – not because of the individual’s affinity with an organization itself.

Would this hold true with candidates for the U.S. presidency? Nothing brings social issues to the forefront of the national consciousness for such an extended time more than a U.S. presidential campaign. The opportunity to study millennials during the 2016 election cycle drove the research team to seek an understanding of how this generation’s engagement changes during and/or as a result of this quadrennial event.

Few events in the United States make social issues and affiliated causes – including those who support and those who oppose them – as public and popular as presidential election cycles. Research repeatedly indicates millennials value cause engagement. With the changing landscape in the U.S. brought on by a presidential election year, the Achieve research team wanted to understand how – or if – this generation’s philanthropic interests and involvement change, as well.

The 2016 Millennial Impact Report investigates how millennials’ cause engagement behaviors may change during an election year, and how these changes may be influenced by the emerging candidates for election or by important millennial demographics such as their political ideology, geographical location, age, gender and race/ethnicity. This study also examines millennials’ interest and activation in specific causes that may be differentiated by their support of a particular political party.

To read the full report, download the pdf below or visit