Generation Y are top fundraisers!

3 minute read

Generation Y – otherwise known as ‘Millennials’ – are those born between the early 1980s and the mid-2000s. According to reports, this is the generation that will donate the most to charity in the next 12 months. And yet, right now this group gives the least.

A report by Give as You Live however, encourages us to consider this generation to be ‘the philanthropists of the future.’

Give as You Live is a charitable shopping platform, which allows users to donate a small amount to their favourite charity while shopping at one of 3,600 top brands, including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Asos and Their paper, ‘Generation Y and their Charity Giving Habits’, suggests that Generation Y’s giving habits are the most likely to steadily increase over the next year.

Why? The answer is simple – digital.

gen-yGeneration Y are huge purveyors of the so-called ‘Sharing Culture’. Due to the advent of social media, Generation Y are used to ‘sharing’ their life in updates across various different platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The #nomakeupselfie – whereby individuals were able to share a photo of themselves on social media as well as donating – took Generation Y by storm. This campaign, though not initiated by Cancer Research, raised over £8 million for the charity. In fact, a recent study argues that members of Generation Y are better than charities at sharing online, and more likely to engage in campaigns that resemble sharing as opposed to just donating.

Give as You Live’s report suggests that charities should maximise this potential, and re-fresh their campaigns to take on a digital, ‘sharing’ emphasis in order to get the most out of Generation Y.

But another reason why Generation Y are so attractive to charities is that they want to do more than just donate. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report found that a huge 73% have already volunteered for a charity or not-for-profit. Interestingly, this report presents the idea that Generation Y are likely to becomeemotionally invested in a project, increasing their inclination to give their time as well as their money.

So how can charities reach out to these passionate members of Generation Y? Again, the answer is digital.

Give as You Live suggest that charities should provide exciting content, resources, relationships andc ommunities that Generation Y will value.

83% of Generation Y own a mobile phone, and yet the Give as You Live report found that exactly 83% of charities do not have mobile-friendly websites, or even a mobile strategy.

Mobile strategies are important, as they can help charities to reach out to Generation Y via online communities that are available 24/7. A mobile strategy can also be a great way to create emotional engagement; sharing successes through longer-term story-telling.

“For Generation Y, you need content you can share. No matter what budget you’ve got, content is the key. Bear in mind that the very people you’re trying to reach can also solve the challenges you’re trying to address.”
Polly Gowers, Give as You Live Founder
Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising Convention, July 2014

The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Denmark has already taken this message on board.

Taking photo-messaging app Snapchat as inspiration, WWF have created a highly evocative digital campaign. They suggest that endangered animals’ lives can be just as transient as Snapchat’s own messages – which traditionally disappear into Cyberspace within 10 seconds. The campaign asks viewers to take a picture of one of the endangered animals and share it with friends on Snapchat.

“The emphasis of this new campaign is to underline that if we don’t take action in real life, these species will disappear for real.”
– WWF Denmark and Grey Group Ad Agenices #LastSelfie Press Release

By creating online communities, and providing great content and story-telling through videos and photos, charities can tap into this ‘sharing culture’ and have their messages shared amongst Generation Y and beyond.


What do you think? Should charities embrace digital? Which charities do you think are already doing it really well?

Emma Begg

Product and Marketing Manager at CharityConnect. Love learning about new technology and helping to create a culture of collaboration over at

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