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Study: Younger Evangelicals Less Trusting of Charitable Organizations But More Open to Giving Diversely

charitable younger evangelicals

A recent study conducted by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research has found that while younger evangelical donors tend to be more distrustful of charitable organizations from the outset, they are nevertheless more likely to give to causes overseas or to organizations with which they were previously unfamiliar. 

The study set out to analyze differences in charitable giving patterns across age groups in light of the fact that many donor bases tend to be older, leaving some nonprofit organizations financially vulnerable as those donors continue to age and eventually die off. 

In light of this reality, many charitable organizations are seeking to attract younger donors, but “the problem is that too often, organizations are trying to attract a 35-year-old donor with the same strategies and approaches that helped them attract all their 65-year-old donors.

“Younger donors think about giving very differently from older donors,” the study reported.

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One key finding the study identified is that while 58 percent of evangelicals give to charities outside their local churches, evangelicals under the age of 40 do so with a much different perspective than their older counterparts. When younger evangelicals are in the process of considering charitable donations, they are more likely to begin from a place of distrust until the organization proves that it is trustworthy. For older evangelicals, they are more likely to give trust freely until that trust is violated, with donors over the age of 70 being the most trusting. 

This illustrates that in order to reach younger donors, charitable organizations must think strategically about how to model transparency and accountability in their practices. Nevertheless, if they are able to successfully do so, the results of the study seem to indicate that they have a greater potential to reach a larger pool of donors among younger age groups, even if they are not a well known charity. 

The study also found that evangelicals under the age of 40 are most likely to seek variety in the charitable organizations they contribute to. Forty-one percent of evangelicals under 40 responded favorably when asked if they like to learn about new organizations to give to, as opposed to 29 percent among all evangelicals and 34 percent among evangelicals ages 40-54. Simply put, older evangelicals are more comfortable giving to organizations they were already previously familiar with, while younger evangelicals are open to new causes and charities. 

Younger evangelicals are also more likely to give to a wider variety of causes, with 48 percent responding favorably to the idea, compared to 32 percent among evangelicals overall. Furthermore, younger evangelicals are more likely to give to overseas initiatives, with 34 percent responding favorably, as opposed to the overall favorable response rate of 27 percent. 

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