4 Ways Millennials Redefine The Idea Of Philanthropy

by Project Millennial
Carolyn Lagattuta

What is philanthropy in one word?

Giving -- wouldn't you think?

The dictionary elaborates this concept as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” Generation after generation, we've passed on the concept of philanthropy as one of giving funds for a good cause.

What could that good cause be?

It could be contributing funds toward ending world hunger, decreasing poverty, scaling education or empowering more of the homeless to move from the streets to a secure shelter.

There are so many forms and ways to philanthropically contribute to a better world for all of us. All of these are great causes, however, does the method of how philanthropy is practiced only lie in the hands of contributing funds?

We think not. And of course, when we use “we,” we mean Millennials. The ones who some call “lazy” are impacting the world dramatically and in innovative ways.

Let's observe with profit, and take a look at the concept of philanthropy through the mind and eyes of the Millennial.

To the Millennial, philanthropy is contributing, but not just through the giving of funds.

In fact, it's about a particular “mechanism” of giving at all. Through philanthropy comes the desire to give, and there are so many ways to give.

Here are four different methods (including funds) that the Millennial sees fit to giving.

1. Knowledge

Knowledge is power.

Actually, knowledge is potential power. Applied knowledge is definite power.

Through applied knowledge, we can learn to fail and learn to succeed. Because of the wisdom delivered from past generations, Millennials understand this concept of "applied knowledge is definite power" better than any other generation from the past (and at a younger age as well).

Case in point, one form of contribution is giving knowledge.

To whom? To anyone! Anything we learn can be passed on and shared with other people in all walks of life, whether through a charity or a situation in everyday life.

The passing of knowledge occurs every single moment in everyone's given life. However, how many people see it as a form of giving? Perhaps many, or perhaps not that many at all.

Either way, through the eyes and minds of Millennials, the passing of knowledge is one form of giving.

2. Time

Time is beautiful.

We celebrate new year after new year, month after month, week after week, day after day and moment after moment. It's so valuable in every way, and it's one of the only things that cannot be replaced.

With this value in mind, Millennials understand the power of time and how, what and to whom it is contributed. There's an old saying, “time is money,” which is certainly one perspective of time. But here's another: “Time is value.”

Every single time we contribute, we give value in some shape or form. We have the power to give or refrain from giving value and/or time to anyone, just as we have the power to focus on making money within the context of time.

3. Emotion

“All You Need Is Love”

Wasn't it the Beatles who stated this in their 1967 Billboard chart classic hit?

While they weren't Millennials, they nonetheless point to the fact that emotions, or someone's kinesthetic ability, can be used as a power to give other people certain emotions.

Take a closer look into the personal development world and see how words can be used to move others based on the measures of success, passion and happiness.

Emotion is another form of giving because we give other people the gift of the power to feel through our words, actions and motives. How cool is that?

4. Money


Now for the grandfather and veteran of the methods of philanthropy.


In the world that we live in, we use money as a form of measurement. In this case of philanthropy, that same measurement is used to contribute toward the causes of which we are most passionate.

Giving funds is our way of supporting the growth of the people, in a particular category (i.e. lack of food, money, education, shelter, etc). We all have different passions and different causes we seek to contribute to.

However, the simple desire to contribute toward those causes is what creates the concept of philanthropy, not the method in which we contribute.

This is the point of philanthropy through the minds and eyes of Millennials. Every choice we make has to have a dose of passion behind it.

So does this concept give a lot more people the title of philanthropists than we think?

We think so. It all comes down to giving.

If we amalgamated knowledge, time, emotion and money, we see philanthropy as not a donation, but ultimately as an investment of these categories of giving.

What's our return on investment?

It is satisfaction that we know we gave our time, emotion and funds (if possible) toward the cause of growth.

This is the true definition of the gift of giving.