Establishing a Culture of Philanthropy Among Young Alumni

young alumni
by Chatise Smith

Young alumni aren’t typically considered as strong charitable givers in comparison to older alumni with a greater capacity to give. But contrary to popular belief, young alumni are becoming some of higher education’s most valuable donors. Today’s social and political climate has sparked a trend of volunteerism and philanthropy among young adults. As more graduates seek to reconnect with their alma mater, it is critical that we capitalize by planning proactive and deliberate outreach efforts 

“Young alumni” is defined differently across institutions. At UGA, we define young alumni as 40 and younger. G.O.L.D. alumni are those who graduated in the last decade. Generational cohorts, loosely defined by birth year, can be helpful in studying young alumni. Our young alumni population largely consists of Millennials (born 19811996), and some Gen Zs (born 19972019) (Villa & Dorsey, 2016).  

Millennials are changing the shape of philanthropy. Unlike the generation before them, millennials donate to improve the world rather than donate out of a sense of responsibility (Gluch, 2016). They donate financially, but also give their time, talent, and access to networks, too. With 1.56 million nonprofits in the United States striving for young alumni dollars, how does UGA win them over? 

*Pictured above (L-R): Jasmin Severino Hernandez (AB ’13, AB ’13), Liz Cox (BBA ’13, BBA ’13), Adam Johnson (MBA ’16), featured speaker Chuck Bryant (AB ’95), Daniella Singleton (AB ’08, BS ’08), Shayla Hill (BBA ’08) at Young Alumni “Between Two Hedges” event in February 2020.