Charities currently get little donation revenue from Generation Y & Z, yet they continue to pump resources into activities that simply don’t reach this group. Traditional forms of communication and campaigning –– such as chuggers or charity muggers, newspaper adverts and TV commercials –– simply aren’t engaging this huge demographic, and charities are missing out in the process.

Nowadays, not-for-profit organisations and charities face the ageing of donors and a growing debate over monetary donation collection methods. They need to find solutions to attract younger generation of donors.

Generation Y appear to be socially conscious yet they evoke more sharing and solidarity than  charities. Institutionalised forms of giving, particularly via charities and not-for-profit organisations, are rejected. These individuals seem to express their individuality through practices that resemble sharing rather than giving. From a managerial point of view, these results shed light on the factors liable to cause members of this generation to give, such as:

  1. the use of social networks;
  2. appealing to pleasure, festivities and efficiency rather than to guilt and duty; and,
  3. encouragement to ‘work within the not-for-profit organisations’.

Millennial are highly selective about what organisations they follow in crowded and noisy media landscape…. Nearly half of respondents (48.8%) follows one to five organisations on social media. Crucially, this means that, if you want to engage Gen Y, you need to find a way to make sure that your signal stands out above the noise –– which means tailoring your content specifically to this group, and focusing your attention on the core issue you are championing, as opposed to making your brand the key feature.

Of the three factors listed above, the most crucial –– for increasing attention of this generation to helping causes –– is whether you’re promoting it through an online media platform, such as a social networking site.

With many organisations falling at this first hurdle, it makes perfect sense for more traditional charities to enlist such help from Gen Y or Z volunteers. Not only will this enable the charity to create more compelling social media campaigns (social networks are a natural stomping ground for Gen Y & Z), but it will also appeal to the intrinsic motivation of the Gen Y & Z volunteer who wants to contribute more than his/her money to causes he/she believes in.

(Source: What does the future hold for giving? An approach using the social representations of Generation Y. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. The Effects of Online Media Platform on Joining Causes: The Impression management Perspective, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media)



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