In the last 5 years, the role of young people in philanthropic activities has increased significantly. Some of them have created their own foundations or community-based organizations to develop programs based on their interests. Others have become volunteers and donors to many organizations. The involvement of the younger generation in philanthropy has changed the map and pattern of giving in Indonesia. Philanthropy is no longer limited to charity acts by old or wealthy people when they retire. It is also no longer solely about charity acts in the form of donations to religious organizations, disaster relief, and social service.
This new trend was discussed by the speakers of Philanthropy Learning Forum 5, with the theme “Millennial Philanthropy: Young, Caring and Game Changing”. This event was held by Filantropi Indonesia in collaboration with Pundi Amal SCTV in Jakarta on the 31st of March 2016. The forum brought together four young and bright speakers who have developed, initiated and run philanthropic activities through their respective organizations. They also involve other young people as donors and supporters. They are Vikra Ijas (Chief Marketing Officer, KitaBisa.com), Marsya Anggia (Director, IndoRelawan), Faye Simanjuntak (Founder, Rumah Faye), and Reza S. Zaki (Ketua, Rumah Imperium).
Hamid Abidin, Director of Filantropi Indonesia, explained that the millennial generation is demographically a group who was born between 1980s and 2000s, currently aged between 15 and 34 years old. Different from previous generations, the social and humanitarian initiatives run by millennials are mostly implemented with the help of a community, utilising technology and pop culture. Besides paying attention to the depth of the issue, millennial philanthropists with IT, entrepreneurship, art and social science backgrounds also try to package and “sell” their programs to be more popular, fun and usually contain economic empowerment aspects. That is why they are known to be well-educated, tech-savvy, independent people with unique entrepreneurial skills, who also want to do good.
Erna Witoelar, Co-Chair of Advisory Board Filantropi Indonesia, sees the role of the millennial generation in changing the giving patterns that have been closely related to money or funding. Millennials are not only interested in philanthropy activities that merely collect and distribute donations, but they also like to utilize their own potential and capacity to develop the initiatives they support. They expand the traditional contribution into six types: knowledge and skill, time, voice (aspiration), network, kinesthetics, and money. By combining all six types of giving, millennials regard philanthropy as a social investment with a bigger and more sustainable impact. They also see their involvement in philanthropy as an investment in their own character and capacity development, and beneficial to their role as future leaders.
Besides using technology and system information, one characteristic that stands out from millennial philanthropy is the role of community as a support system and initiator of ideas. Research by PIRAC (Public Interest Research and Advocacy Centre) says that the philanthropic communities built by young people have started to change the philanthropy development in Indonesia significantly. PIRAC identified more than 99 community organizations that were specifically established to develop philanthropy activities. The initiatives of these organizations often come from individuals or certain communities and the activities are promoted through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) in order to gain public attention. They work through a variety of channels such as monetary donation, social service, disaster relief, education, health, natural resources conservation, and economic empowerment. In contrast with a non-profit organization’s or NGO’s status, this community-based organization is usually not a legal entity, their board structure is very fluid, very interactive, and it actively encourages public involvement in its activities.