We are living in an age of hyper-personalization – from our personal news feed to personalized content from our favourite brands, to the selfie, to our curated online profile. We know what we want as a result of the online “me” world we’re living in – and we want choice. Giving and impact is no different – we want choices when it comes to where and how we give. Personal advocacy and personal philanthropy have become the centre of how we engage in causes and giving. There are three things that have led us to where we are today.

Purpose at the centre of the workplace

People don't just strive for work/life balance today, many people also expect purpose to be at the centre of their career. Fifty-seven percent of 18-34 year-olds cited either making a difference in society, or doing something that they found enjoyable, as their top priority for their first job. Making a difference through your career – either through volunteering or the type of profession – has become a minimum requirement for millennials; it's built-in when it used to be bolted-on. Eighty six percent of employers believe that employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community, and 87% believe their employees expect them to support causes and issues that personally matter to those employees.

The way we give is personal

In 2016, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals – more than corporations and foundations combined. Not only did more individuals give last year over the year before, but the way people give today has shifted dramatically. Gone are the days of writing a cheque and not knowing where your money goes. Millennials want to see and measure how their philanthropic efforts are making an impact, and many organizations are shifting strategies to meet these demands. The 130-year-old United Way, for example, has set out to expand mobile giving and one-click giving options. While public school teachers from every corner of America are creating individual classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org, allowing donors to give any amount to the project that inspires them.

Visitors take a selfie at the Mount of Olives overlooking Old City in Jerusalem, October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RC13F62D50D0
We are living in an age of selfies and online curated profiles
Image: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Making global stakes more personal

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were created based on input from global citizens around the kind of world we want to live in. Businesses, organizations and individuals alike now have a powerful framework to measure impact against – our personal footprint on the state of the world can be measured. The change we want is now transparent. Whether it’s investing in clean energy, standing up for gender equality, or taking small actions to preserve our climate – impact has been democratized and our day-to-day actions are rolling up collectively into something much larger.

So why does this matter? Everything else in our life today is personalized – from our online shopping habits, to our Yelp and YouTube pages – giving and creating impact shouldn’t be any different. The modern workplace integrates our desire for purpose, modern tools enable us to choose how we give, and the SDGs have provided us with an important framework and giving measurement tool.

The more personal we get, the more impact we can create together.