New research from Achieve investigates millennials’ ongoing cause engagement behaviors during a presidential election year

Today Achieve, in partnership with the Case Foundation, released the second wave of research from the 2016 Millennial Impact Report. A three-wave study, this second wave reveals new trends related to millennial engagement with causes during the 2016 Presidential election cycle and investigates how organizations can motivate this generation to donate their time, money or skills to their causes during election years.

The first wave of research released in June 2016 gathered insights from March through May 2016 and revealed that most millennials believed people like them could have an impact on the U.S. and were more interested in social issues concerning education, health care and the economy. The second wave of data surveyed millennials from June through August 2016. Though the individuals surveyed and the election campaign climate differed from Wave 1 to Wave 2, researchers found consistency in survey response patterns across months—many of which are presented in the highlights below.

Highlights from Wave 2 include:

  • Education and health care remained the first- and second- highest social issues of interest for millennials, but employment/wages edged out the economy as the third-highest issue of interest.
  • More than a quarter of millennials surveyed did not want to vote for either major party candidate in November.
  • Millennials continue to have some level of trust in government to do what is right, though the majority don’t rate that trust as high.
  • Millennials still consider themselves activists, but without showing a strong affinity for direct action in support of or opposition to an issue.
  • Slightly fewer millennials believe people like them can help make the United States a better place to live, with the biggest drop seen among females.
  • Facebook is still the most popular social media platform on which millennials post about issues they care for, and the majority of millennials had posted about an issue on social media in the past week.

“In reviewing the Millennial Impact Report findings it is clear that several trends have started forming among millennials as the presidential race intensifies,” said Derrick Feldmann, Achieve president. “Understanding the evolving millennial mindset in the current political landscape is critical to future leaders and organizations that are looking to involve this generation for many years to come.”

“We’ve seen in past Presidential elections the power and significance of the millennial generation’s voice,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “The 2016 Millennial Impact Report is shedding light on millennial actions and responses during this critical period and challenging our understanding of this generation’s attitudes and behaviors toward cause engagement.”

As this study continues to unfold and patterns emerge, the Achieve research team will pay particular attention to each of these trends and attempt to answer questions they have engendered, particularly in the qualitative phase of data collection. The final wave of the report will be collected through November and released in early 2017.


To uncover the ongoing trends related to this generation’s political ideologies and cause engagement, Achieve designed a multi-stage, mixed methods research study. Within the study, surveys are deployed monthly to 350 unique millennial respondents each month from March to November, with the final sample totaling 3,150. Survey responses are grouped and reported out in three-month increments, or waves, through Election Day 2016.

Post-Election Day, Achieve will complete the final wave of surveys with millennial respondents to capture data associated with their cause-related attitudes, perceptions and behaviors as well as politically-related behaviors, including Election Day voting activity and presidential candidate selection. Finally, Achieve will conduct in-depth personal interviews with a sub-sample of survey respondents to expand upon and validate survey responses.

Download the 2016 Millennial Impact Wave 2 Trends Report at


About the Millennial Impact Project

The Millennial Impact Project is the most comprehensive and trusted study of the millennial generation (born 1980-2000) and their involvement with causes. Since beginning the study in 2009, Achieve continues to lead the national research team in partnership with the Case Foundation. With more than 75,000 participants in its studies, The Millennial Impact Project has helped organizations, corporations and individuals around the world understand the best approaches to cultivate interest and involvement with this generation.

About Achieve

Achieve is a research and marketing agency for causes. We leverage our expertise in research, technology, creative and strategy to understand and inspire your audience – whether current or yet to be discovered – to take action. Learn more about Achieve, our research and cloud-based technology solution, TrustedPartner, at

About the Case Foundation

Established by digital pioneers Jean and Steve Case, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. For nearly two decades, we have focused on creating programs and investing in people and organizations that harness the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to address urgent social challenges. Our work is focused on three key pillars: revolutionizing the philanthropic sector, unleashing the power of entrepreneurship to create social change and igniting civic engagement through citizen-driven solutions. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.