Why do Millennials choose to engage in cause movements?

Research by Achieve, Supported by The Case Foundation

In 2015, the Achieve research team reported that millennial engagement in causes was moving from cursory interest to activism, reflecting a maturation of the generation’s inherent desire to do good. The shift was fairly quiet, much more so than anticipated even in 2016, when we hypothesized that a presidential election campaign would highlight social issues and thus spur millennials to heightened cause activity.

Then immediately following Donald Trump’s win, millennial activism seemed to push social issues into the headlines.

Achieve developed a research study to address their activity based on these four questions:

  1. How has millennial engagement and interest in causes changed since the presidential election?
  2. What are the characteristics of social issues that tend to see higher millennial participation rates?
  3. What are millennials’ levels of engagement in these social issues, how are levels selected and how do they evolve?
  4. What are the characteristics of millennials who participate at each level of engagement?

While involvement with causes overall remained fairly steady from last year, millennials who have been most passionate about causes and social issues (as evidenced by their behavior) have considerably increased their activity.