The truth about student giving

Research | March 6, 2012

In an earlier blog I suggested that students could be good givers. That’s all well and good – but are we?

The 2004 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (yes, the most recent survey) published a special report on the giving habits of Canadian youth between 15 and 24.

Here are some highlights:

  • 71% of youth donate, compared to a high of 90% among Canadians 45-64.
  • The median donation was $32 vs. $146 dollars for Canadians over 25.
  • Just like older Canadians, youth prioritize the sectors of health, religion and social services.
  • Older donors generally plan their giving in advance, while just over half us give spontaneously. (Remember our earlier post? Planners give more.)
  • Only 45% of Millennials do any research before making a donation (which relates well to the spontenaity). (Source)
  • We are much less likely to donate via a mail request (4% of youth against 31% of older Canadians)

The stat on donations via mail requests is especially interesting. One of the major ways charities currently solicit doesn’t engage youth – at all. In fact, we do most of our donating through public solicitations (again with the spontaneous behaviour).

The truth is in the numbers: youth give, just not that much. With an average income of around $16,000 for those 20-24 (no data available for 15-20 year olds), we can afford to dig a bit deeper.

We’re obviously most likely to give when asked, even if it might not be very strategic or smart in some cases (read: more likely to fall prey to fraud). Ultimately, if charities want the younger demographic to give more, they’ll have to reconsider their direct mail campaigns, ask us in other ways, and give us the tools to give the way we want to.

– SM, Chimp intern


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