In 2017, for the first time, charitable giving exceeded $400BN spurred by growth in all key areas of philanthropic measurement. Some additional facts:
Americans are by-far the most generous country, giving about twice as much in percent of GDP than the next closest country, which are our friends in Canada.
Individuals give 70% of the money that goes to non-profits, which is over twice as much as all other sources combined.
Much of that money goes to churches. In 2017, religious institutions got $127BN most of which came from individuals, which means about 44% of individual-giving goes to churches assuming church contributions mostly come from individuals.
Giving appears to be growing steadily when looking at just current-year dollars. Donations as a percentage of GDP, however, is essentially stalled at about 2% and has been for decades.
Last year Frontstream.com wrote an article dubbing Gen Z “Philanthroteens,” thanks to their high bent toward social consciousness. Like many things with this 61mm-strong cohort, they are off to a good start to make a big impact and as you can see from the data above, there's a lot at stake. Take We Day for example -- a set of programs celebrating and inspiring youth to make a difference in local and global communities. Founded by two Canadian activist brothers, one of We Day's principle's is that young people must be taken seriously as a potent source of positive change. What started as a single day-long event back in 2007 has grown into a multi-city tour with 14 dates across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. In the last eight years, more than 650,000 kids have attended We Dayevents, a number that just keeps growing.
What's more, one recent study found that 49% of teens volunteer at least once a month; 20%plan on starting their own charity someday; and 39% say that giving time and money to charity is a “measure of success.”
Here's why it matters even if you're not a non-profit: Because more than half of Gen Z'ers say that knowing a brand is socially conscious has an impact on their purchasing decisions. So while it hasn't been pretty to be a Big Bad Corporation Out Simply 4 Profit for some time now, it's particularly unappealing to Gen Z who so far influences roughly $4BN in discretionary spending. If you happen to be [big & bad] and think you'll get away with it, don't forget this cohort pays attention -- in our house Logan Paul went from hero to zero overnight because the boys were very aware that his suicide forest stunt was insensitive. And let's face it -- whether they believed it was bad of their own accord or just because of the resultant backlash, doesn't matter: all three stopped watching his YouTube videos. (Oh, and yes, the fact that he went dark for several days afterward didn't help given their short attention spans!)
My friends will attest I have a low threshold for what I call "political-correctness gone mad." I had trouble concealing my irritation with our young son when he refused to answer a relative's question about his favorite food because he insisted choosing between Italian and Mexican was "racist." But living in a house full of boys who were truly (truly!) baffled to learn women make less money than men for doing the same job, I've decided their social awareness is the single biggest reason the future is bright. What's not to love about a bunch of young people who want to save the planet, help their community, and fight for equal rights -- all I wanted to do at a similar age is wander the mall and watch Pretty in Pink on repeat!
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