Investigating Gen Z attitudes to charitable giving and donation behaviour : social media, peers and authenticity

Konstantinou, Iro and Jones, Kate (2022) Investigating Gen Z attitudes to charitable giving and donation behaviour : social media, peers and authenticity. Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing, 27(3), e1764. ISSN (online) 2691-1361


Even though there are studies which look at the motivations and trends of charitable giving and donations among Millennials, there is little empirical evidence which discusses how Gen Z perceive charitable donations and philanthropic work. As this generation moves into full employment, it is worth considering what influences they perceive as important for them to invest money, time and effort in when it comes to charitable giving, especially at the aftermath of COVID-19 which has shaped perceptions of community, charity and donation behaviour. Our paper draws from focus groups with participants in the age range of 21–24, all based in the southeast of the UK. We explore the influences of peers, social media and personal interests in how Gen Z chooses which charitable causes to support during and after COVID-19, a formative time in young people's lives. Our study shows that Gen Z are a generation who want to feel personally connected to the charities and causes they support. Social media and its influences are also a major driver in what Gen Z perceive to be pivotal in their expressions of charitable giving. Peer influences are important since recommendations by friends are likely to be authentic and genuine, something which is essential for Gen Z who do not want to be perceived as jumping on the bandwagon when they support causes but want to see long-lasting impact. Our findings show that Gen Z prefer to be approached online rather than in person and feel empowered in their choices. We conclude by recommendations to marketers and those who are looking to engage Gen Z in their charitable endeavours and make them espouse their goals, especially in a (post) COVID-19 world in a UK context.

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