Friday, September 24, 2010

Gen Y & Charitable Giving

by guest blogger, Tanya Dobbs, Charities Review Council marketing intern

The next wave of younger generations is quickly becoming a highly prioritized target for organizations who seek to encourage on-going, active participation within the nonprofit sector. While the Charities Review Council works to encourage informed giving for all people of all ages, Generation Y remains to be one of the most elusive generations when it comes to philanthropy. Individualistic, realistic and technologically advanced, Generation Y has the potential to become the next generation of charitable donors. If you can manage to catch their attention.

As a twenty-two year old member of Generation Y, it is easy for me to understand the challenges nonprofits have when trying to attract younger donors. Gen Y, otherwise affectionately deemed “Generation Me,” is often stereotypically labeled spoiled, self-centered and materialistic. I have to say it is hard not to be slightly offended by these various adjectives, especially when I recognize the immeasurable potential younger generations have when it comes to nonprofits and charitable giving. Generation Y has grown in an age of extreme innovation and technological advancements in a way that no other generation before them has and it greatly affects the way the average 18-29 year old communicates. With the vast array of technology at the touch of any Gen-Yer’s fingertips, nonprofits are now setting the standard with how they must learn to communicate with upcoming generations.

A 2010 study by Convio Research shows that 56% Generation Y does give to charities. When given the opportunity, I have seen first-hand the willingness of people my age to donate. In the wake of Haiti, I was astonished at the number of my friends and classmates who jumped on the mobile giving bandwagon in order to raise money for disaster relief. Why? Possibly because commercials from text-to-give challenges were played endlessly on channels like MTV, challenging young people to consider giving, however small the amount. Social media sites such as Facebook  also have managed to tap into the elusive Generation Y. The Convio study confirms that websites, social networking and mobile giving are the top preferred channels of solicitation from charities. Opportunities for donations from Generation Y also seem to be most effective when presented with a specific problem that needs urgent help, such as disaster relief or cancer foundations; it also stresses the importance of nonprofits to master multi-channel marketing strategies.

In my opinion, I believe the encouraged individualism of Generation Y has created a desire for younger people to become involved in something bigger than themselves. When presented with a problem, I have high faith that Generation Y can be easily encouraged by the importance of donating. If nonprofits can learn to communicate effectively on Gen-Y’s own terms through their preferred media channels, you may be surprised at how many of us young people can get excited about donating!

About Tanya Dobbs
Tanya is currently the marketing intern at the Charities Review Council. She is a senior at Metropolitan State University pursuing a B.A. in professional writing and looking forward to her anticipated graduation this fall.

1 comment:

Charitable Giving said...

I was reading an article yesterday on how much big corporations give on a yearly basis. I was very surprised to see the numbers for companies like Walmart. Walmart donates a ton of money each and every year to charity. I'm not sure how many consumers know this about the big retail giant.