Why Millennials love CSR & Social Good – Part 3

By June 17, 2019CSR

In part 2 of my Millennial blog we looked at why many companies are struggling to attract Millennials to work for them. In this final Part 3, we delve into what it is that Millennials really want.

Millennials feel let down by institutions including corporate

Millennials feel let down by all institutions – government, the church and corporates. Only 7% feel confident that politicians are working in their best interest.

Australian Millennials have a dim view of corporates – the lowest in four years. Three quarters of Millennials see business as focusing on their own agenda rather than considering the wider society and two thirds say companies have no ambition beyond wanting to make more money.

The Millennials’ response is that they’re supporting companies and brands that are doing good, and boycotting those that are behaving badly – more of that in chapter 9. They are supported by technology, with numerous APPS like DoneGood, Buycott, Orange Harp, Explore and Good on You allowing them to research products online and at the point of sale to help them decide whether to Buy or Avoid.

83% Millennials believe business should be measured in more ways than just financial, and the next generation – the Z’ds – are not far behind at 80%. They’re not naïve – they know profits are a priority, but they believe there should be more balance. A company or brand should be: making a positive impact on society and the environment; creating innovative products and jobs; committing to inclusion & diversity (genuinely, not just filling quotas) and it should be making people’s lives better – but NOT at the expense of the planet.

The opportunity

A decade ago we had the emergence of the Conscious[1] Consumer movement. I believe Millennials have evolved this further into what I call the Conscience Consumer wave[2]. They are not just aware but have a very strong moral sense, taking action and making decisions based on these morals and ethics. They question and investigate far more and are choosing to buy products based on these criteria, they’re mistrusting of media and news and seek work that is meaningful.

They know they have the power to change the way Corporate Australia behaves – by flexing their muscles at the checkout, by using their powerful voice across multiple communication platforms and choosing to work in sectors other than profit-focused Corporations.

In ten years, I wonder how many of these purpose-driven organisations will be competing with the tired old profit driven corporations? Just consider how much ‘Thankyou’ has grown in just a decade – 55 products in 5,500 outlets. Its purpose is clearly defined, measured and communicated – they’ve given $5.8m to fund water access, sanitation & hygiene empowering 785,000 people across the world. It’s clearly part of their DNA, it’s right there on the home page of their website, not hidden in an annual report as an afterthought.

In summary, Millennials hold great power and influence. Companies that ignore them will do so at their peril.

It’s no longer acceptable for companies to pay lip service to sustainability – meeting regulatory requirements, replacing a tree for every one cut down or offsetting carbon omissions.

It’s not enough to donate money to charities but continue to hurt society.

It’s unacceptable for companies to pay slave wages to workers in developing countries and give CEO’s a multi-million dollar exit package.

Operating ‘business as usual’ is not going to cut it with Millennials. Companies will have to go much deeper and further, show demonstrable action and outcomes, stand up and speak out on issues that matter, if they want to attract them as future employees, customers, suppliers and investors.

And the style of communication, I believe, will be THE determining factor as to whether they believe you or not.

Research reports evaluated and cited here can be found in the Talking the Walk®2 Resource Centre – link provided with purchase.


Demonstrate you share their concern about climate change by taking action. Start by reducing waste & packaging.


Be honest – it’s ok to be imperfect. Embrace radical transparency and humility. Flawsome is awesome!


Show your human face, they want to engage with ‘regular people’.


Stand for something that matters to them, make it relevant, make it last, stand firm even in the face of criticism.


Be a catalyst for positive social change. Real action not rhetoric. Demonstrate impact.

This blog is an excerpt from my latest book, Talking the Walk®2 – How to tell your social good story to resonate with Millennials.  All research statistics cited are from this book.  To compile Talking the Walk® 2, I read and analysed over 40 research reports from numerous companies and agencies including PWC, Edelman, Havas, Roy Morgan, Reputex and many more. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to tell your social good story to resonate with Millennials, order your own copy of the e-book – Find out more and purchase here

[1] Conscious – aware, awake, having knowledge of something

[2] Conscience – moral sense of right & wrong, acting as a guide to behaviour

About Hailey

As Fearless Leader of Cavill + Co, Hailey has advised blue-chip companies and brands on CSR & Social Good for over 20 years. She’s built over 50 cause partnerships for clients including Disney Australia, Vodafone Foundation, Mondelez Australia and SEEK. She also teaches non-profits how to partner with corporates through online training program, BePartnerReady.com®

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