Charitable Giving: Why do the Under 30s donate the least?

Under 30s Donate Less

A topic that has been brought to my attention is the disparity between the older generation and younger generation and their charitable giving habits. Discussions on this topic have been brewing for years as charities continue to hedge their marketing towards the over 60s bracket. With this topic on the rise, just why are the under 30s less likely to donate?

Coincidently, a Radio 4 interview and a recent report I read showed that charities tend to hedge their marketing towards the older generation. This fact was highlighted in the Olive Cooke case, where the 92 year old received over 3,200 charity mailings a year. Following this case many over 60s spoke out to say that this was not a freak occurrence, but they also received over 100 charity mailings a month. But why might this have been the case?I decided to investigate further and found that according to CAF Aid Foundations Charitable Giving report, those aged between 16 and 24 are least likely to actively donate or participate in sociable action.

Moreover, individuals aged 65 and over, regularly donate to charities, a third more than the youngest group of potential donors. However, there are reasons why the younger generation are less likely to donate according to a study conducted by Barclays. Over 85% of younger people prefer to donate to a charity online and believe that digital donations are the way forward (over 63%). With charities more accommodating of traditional donation channels, such as direct cheques (95%) or direct cash donations (87%) it comes as no surprise that over 79% of donations are made offline and that the over 50s dominate when looking at regular charitable giving.

Subsequently, it is understandable why the older generation are the biggest donors. In my opinion, many charities fear that by implementing new tactics, such as online marketing routes, they could lose their biggest contributors. This explains why charities struggle to capture many of the under 30s, as they do not accommodate their payment preferences.  With this being said, there are other explanations for their donating habits. The under 30s typically have the least amount of disposable income, which could be a substantial reason for why the over 50s are able to donate more. With job finding more difficult and salaries a lot less competitive, charity donations are less considered. Furthermore, the fact that we currently have an aging generation cannot be ignored and may explain why donations are more prominent for the over 60s.

The younger generation are not all bad though, as despite them being less likely to donate, they do overshadow their elders through volunteering. Additionally, the Barclays study shows that as the digital age begins to grow, the younger generation are now the fastest growing group of donors. The younger generation have increased donation levels by 30% from the last year, 6% more than the older generation.Charities need to be aware that they do not have to choose one generation to market to. They can continue to accept cheques and cash, but should begin to reform and improve their digital image – donating needs to be accessible to all.

If you would like to discuss your thoughts on charitable giving, please feel free to contact me, Suda Ratnam at Be sure to check out our top tips on charity marketing and online fundraising mistakes to guide you and your charity seniors on their marketing.