Zillow released a study earlier this year stating that 65 percent of Millennials said, “Owning a home is necessary to living the ‘good life’ and central to the American dream.” Among Millennial renters (aged 18-34), 82 percent said they were confident or somewhat confident that they will be able to afford their own home someday, compared to 64 percent of Generation X renters (those aged 35-49) and just 48 percent of Baby Boomer renters (aged 50-64). When boomers and gen xers were the same age or at their current age
While not all Millennials have enough money to own a home today, they are certainly avid about home ownership and they have one thing the older more wealthy generations don’t have: “social currency.” Social currency has changed the paradigm for how we, as businesses, deal with this new generation of Millennials. No one has adapted better to this than non-profit organizations. While Millennials don’t give a lot monetarily, they are in fact passionate about giving and making a difference with the disposable resources they do have like time and personal reviews.
As a result, nonprofits have been given the opportunity to experiment with innovative, non-traditional ways to receive donations. A perfect example is the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign that went on this past summer. The Ice Bucket Challenge was one of the most successful non-profit fundraising campaigns of all time and was driven by a generation that contributed almost entirely through social currency, not actual donations.
By channeling this philanthropic Millennial Mindset®, Realtors and homeownership brands have the potential to tap into a huge and powerful market. Millennials might not be the best real estate clients today, but they sure are enthusiastic about real estate and homeownership, making them the prime client of tomorrow. So how can Realtors truly leverage this socially driven generation?
Many brands are trying to create new ways of piquing millennial interest by embracing the “give back” trend. Charitable Agents, a new platform that donates 10 percent of every agent’s real estate commission to a charity of the homebuyer or seller’s choice, is one example. Since real estate commissions are significant, companies that jump on this trend, like Charitable Agents, are seeing an average of $1,200 being donated every time a sale is made. The money is donated on the buyer or seller’s behalf with zero money coming out of their own pocket – aligning to a very millennial form of donating.
With these kinds of donation platforms, a Millennial (or anyone) can generate thousands of dollars for a charity they support simply by choosing to work with a company that supports philanthropy through its own means. I don’t wear my TOMS Shoes just because they’re comfortable (although they are pretty comfy!), I wear them knowing that I can bring awareness to my sphere of influence about a charity I care about, all while boosting my social currency offline. Ultimately proving that social currency can be as good as money in the bank. My projection is that we’ll be seeing less realtor faces on benches in the future, and more marketing that’s tied to things that the next generation cares about.