Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

May 27, 2008

Giving is for all ages

Young people are passionate about change, and looking for ways to put their time, know-how and money to work improving our communities.

But by continuing to focus their chase for resources on older, more traditional givers, many nonprofits remain blind both to the immediate value and to the long-term return young people can add to their organizations.

And young people not only give relatively as much as other generations, after accounting for differences in income, education level and religious attendance, says a new study, but they are more likely than any other generation to cite the “desire to make the world a better place to live” as a key motivation for their giving.

The report, conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and funded by Campbell & Co., also says young people are willing to give larger amounts but will not if they are asked to give less.

A second report suggests volunteer service by young people can be an important pathway to nonprofit services.

The report, conducted by ABT Associates for the Corporation for National and Community Service, says Americorps alumni, especially minority and disadvantaged youth, are more likely to pursue nonprofit or public-service careers.

Addressing the symptoms and causes of the urgent social problems we face will require that nonprofits tap all the resources they can.

Young people represent a powerful source of staff, board, volunteers and financial contributions for nonprofits, which need to move quickly to engage young people in their work and their mission.

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