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A report from Youth Barometer produced on behalf of Giva Sverige has shone a light on some of the characteristics of Generation Z that nonprofits will need to be aware of if they are to secure their support as this generation grows into adulthood.
By 2030, today’s 15-24 year olds – Generation Z – will be adults with the resources to get involved with good causes. However, the report – Young in Focus – says that to benefit, nonprofits must understand what is shaping their behaviour and choices now and take this into account when they are adults.
As such, it looks at young people’s current involvement with society and good causes, which will shape them as tomorrow’s donors. Findings are based on Youth Barometer’s annual study, which has been answered by thousands of 15-24 year olds for 30 years and includes questions on respondents’ commitment and giving.
The report shows that there is a big difference between the attitudes of those who were young in the 1990s and youth today, who tend to be more interested in and feel more responsible for social issues, and are significantly more likely to vote. While there are many factors influencing this change, digital is believed to have been highly influential, giving young people more opportunities to gain information and get involved. Young people now also have greater opportunities to influence others than those 20 years ago – at home, at school, on social media, and they seek more control.
Jessica Åkerström, responsible for qualitative studies at the Youth Barometer, said:
“Young people’s involvement today differs in several ways from previous youth generations. Generation Z, for example, is the first generation of young people who largely lack experience of a world without the internet. For many young people, social media is a means of acquiring knowledge and expressing commitment. Other trends we see among young people are that their involvement is often individual and interest-driven.”
Key causes & values for Generation Z
The most important societal issues for young people in 2021 are increased resources for healthcare and care, environmental and climate issues, gender equality, countering racism, and reducing unemployment.
Values have also shifted from 20 years ago, with helping others increasingly important for this generation. This now comes before making a lot of money, finding the right person and having a lot of friends. They also have more political interest, and a greater belief in their ability to influence, with the digital landscape enabling them to inform themselves and get involved in matters of interest.
How young people express their commitment
When it comes to how young people express their commitment to these matters, actions are wide-ranging, including:
– Discussing issues with friends and family, donating money or signing petitions, all of which have increased
– Involvement is part of everyday life – actions are individual, ranging from donating money, to discussing issues with friends / family and changing how or what they consume
– Expressing themselves through what they eat, shop and wear
– Two out of three may consider donating money regularly to charity. However they can imagine donating different sums, and to various initiatives and organisations – rather than supporting just one organisation, or giving regularly via direct debit
– Sharing via social media (more common for girls)
– On average, young people expressed their commitment in 3.2 ways per person in 2020, compared to 2.6 ways per person in 2018
However, today’s young people are less interested in working for a non-profit or joining associations, and political youth unions.