The notion of giving or philanthropy has been a part of human culture for centuries. Countless people have felt the desire to give back to their communities and help those in need on some level, big or small. Today, the definition of philanthropy is changing, and a new generation is leading the way. Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is redefining philanthropy and changing the way we think about giving back.
The Changing Definition of Philanthropy
Traditionally, philanthropy has been associated with large donations from wealthy individuals or corporations. However, Gen Z is interpreting philanthropy in a different way. With a sense of urgency and purpose that is distinct from previous generations, their unique perspective on charitable giving is changing the way people think about giving.
While their parents may have contributed to philanthropic efforts, the emergence of Gen Z has brought a new level of energy, innovation, and impact.
For Gen Z’s giving back is about using their time, talents, and resources to make a difference in their communities.
Gen Z are more likely to engage in grassroots movements, give to smaller, local organizations, and support causes that align with their values.
Technology’s Impact on Giving
Technology has made it easier than ever to engage in giving. Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a fully digital age and is the most diverse and technologically savvy cohort in history.
With technology at their fingertips, they are using tech to make a difference. They have grown up in a world shaped by social media, online communities, and global connectivity and are using these resources as powerful tools for raising awareness and funds for important causes.
Digital platforms allow Gen Z to share their philanthropic efforts and connect with others who share their values. Examples are Instagram donation stickers or Facebook fundraisers to shout out the cause they’re supporting, They are also more likely to use mobile apps to make donations and support causes they care about.
in CanadaHelps’ 2022 Report, they found “6.1% of Gen Z Canadians have made donations of cryptocurrency (and roughly 6% donate securities.)
Social Justice, Climate Change, and Equality
They have grown up in a time of increasing political polarization, economic inequality, and social unrest, and they are keenly aware of the issues facing their communities and the world at large. As a whole, globally, Gen Z is a generation that is deeply committed to social justice, equity, equality, and climate change.
Gen Z are passionate about issues like racial equality, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights. Philanthropy has become a tool for social change.
They are passionate about issues like racial equality, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights. They are more likely to take a holistic approach to social justice, recognizing the intersectionality of issues and supporting organizations that work towards equity for all.
In Canada, the stats stack up a bit differently. CanadaHelps’ 2022 Report identified: 44% of Generation Z identified climate change as the #1 top cause they care about, followed by Mental Health 38%, Social Justice 30%, Social Justice 30%, and Racial Inequality 30%. Support of marginalized groups was more important to this generation than other generations, and 18% noted they would select LGBTQ+ Communities as a cause to support.
Gen Z’s are more likely to support organizations that are working towards systemic change and using their donations to create lasting impact.
Gen Z is becoming known for being socially conscious and community-oriented. They are more likely to volunteer their time and skills to causes they care about, rather than just donate money. 30% in Canada said they have volunteered.
They value hands-on experience and the ability to make a tangible impact.
Habitat for Humanity is a great example of this, where the organization builds homes for needy families, where volunteers can roll up their sleeves and be hands-on in the process.
Impact-driven Giving and Transparency
Gen Z is focused on making a real difference with their charitable contributions. They expect transparency and accountability from non-profits, they want to know that their donations are making a measurable impact. In their growing expectations from the organizations they support, they spend the time to do research and seek those that are transparent about their financial practices, impact, and values.
This has put pressure on non-profits and other philanthropic entities to be more open and responsive to the needs and concerns of their donors.
The Future of Philanthropy with Gen Z
The impact of Gen Z on philanthropy is only just beginning. As this generation grows older and becomes more financially stable, their giving power will continue to grow. They will continue to use technology to create change and will likely demand more transparency and accountability from the organizations they support.
Gen Z is a highly diverse generation, and they are likely to bring a new perspective to philanthropy, making it more inclusive and equitable.
I really like how CanadaHelps innovated. Recognizing the impact of giving and philanthropy from the younger generations, CanadaHelps launched UniteforChange.com using the power of many through cause funds. “Cause Funds are an innovative new way for Canadians to support the causes and issues they are passionate about. Donations are pooled with others who are passionate about the same cause and funds are distributed equally amongst a number of charities all working towards the same cause.”
Gen Z is changing the landscape of philanthropy in important ways. They are redefining what it means to give back and using their time, talents, and resources to create change.
Technology has made it easier for them to engage in philanthropy, and social justice has become a driving force behind their efforts. As this generation continues to grow and mature, their impact on philanthropy will only continue to grow, creating a better world for us all.
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