Younger Consumers Support Education-Related Causes

by | 5 minute read

Char­i­ta­ble dona­tions rose in 2013, the first growth seen since the 2008 reces­sion. But of course, mea­sure­ments like this typ­i­cal­ly track mon­e­tary giv­ing — just one of the ways Amer­i­cans, and peo­ple the world over, can con­tribute to caus­es they believe in. Broad­en­ing the scope to all types of giv­ing, a recent Har­ris Poll finds that nine out of ten Amer­i­cans (91%) have made some sort of con­tri­bu­tion with­in the past two to three years, with mon­ey only the sec­ond most com­mon type of giv­ing (66%), after used cloth­ing (73%).

Just over half of U.S. adults gave food (53%) with­in that time­frame, while four in ten gave time or labor (41%) and near­ly two in ten gave blood (18%). Near­ly half (45%) gave some oth­er type of used item, 4% made some oth­er sort of med­ical or genet­ic dona­tion, and 7% gave some­thing else entire­ly.

These are some of the results of The Har­ris Poll of 2,306 U.S. adults sur­veyed online From July 16 to 21, 2014.

Some dif­fer­ences exist in how var­i­ous groups of Amer­i­cans are giv­ing:

  • Old­er Amer­i­cans are more like­ly to have giv­en used cloth­ing (64% Mil­len­ni­als, 70% Gen Xers, 79% Baby Boomers and 90% Matures), mon­ey (58%, 65%, 70% and 82%), food (50%, 49%, 58% and 61%), and oth­er used items (32%, 42%, 53% and 65%). Younger Amer­i­cans, mean­while, are more like­ly to have giv­en blood (20%, 23%, 14% and 11%) or made oth­er med­ical or genet­ic dona­tions (6%, 4%, 1% and 3%).
  • Repub­li­cans (73%) are more like­ly than either Democ­rats (64%) or Inde­pen­dents (65%) to have giv­en mon­ey with­in the past two to three years.
  • Women are more like­ly than men to have giv­en used cloth­ing (82% vs. 64%), food (60% vs. 47%) or oth­er used items (50% vs. 40%).

Per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty

One in four Amer­i­cans (25%) feel that peo­ple have a per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty to make the world a bet­ter place by being active­ly involved with var­i­ous issues and caus­es; this per­cent­age is on par with 2010 find­ings (24%) but down from 2007 (31%). An addi­tion­al 17% feel peo­ple should gen­er­al­ly take part in things such as vol­un­tary ser­vice, donat­ing to char­i­ties, or get­ting involved in com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ties because it is the right thing to do, rep­re­sent­ing a drop from 2010 (21%). Rough­ly half (48%), mean­while, feel peo­ple can get involved with dif­fer­ent issues and caus­es if they want to, but shouldn't nec­es­sar­i­ly feel oblig­at­ed to do so; this stat is up mar­gin­al­ly from 2010 (46%) and more notably when com­pared to the 40% of Amer­i­cans who select­ed this response in 2007.

Plac­ing pri­or­i­ties

When asked which types of caus­es should be the biggest pri­or­i­ty for char­i­ties to focus their resources on, youth/families (16%) and edu­ca­tion (15%) are the top selec­tions, fol­lowed by human rights (12%), med­ical research (11%), and dis­as­ter relief (10%). Envi­ron­men­tal (7%), glob­al health (7%), ani­mals (4%), and oth­er caus­es (4%) round out the selec­tions, with 13% not at all sure.

  • Edu­ca­tion selec­tions have dropped since 2010, from 19% to 15%, while growth can be seen for selec­tions of human rights (from 9% to 12%) and dis­as­ter relief (from 7% to 10%) relat­ed caus­es.
  • Baby Boomers (16%) and Matures (13%) are more than twice as like­ly as Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Xers (6% each) to select dis­as­ter relief as the biggest pri­or­i­ty, while Mil­len­ni­als (10%) are more than twice as like­ly as Matures (4%) to pri­or­i­tize glob­al health.
  • Democ­rats (17%) are more like­ly than either Repub­li­cans (8%) or Inde­pen­dents (11%) to pri­or­i­tize human rights, while both Democ­rats (10%) and Inde­pen­dents (9%) are three times as like­ly as Repub­li­cans (3%) to pri­or­i­tize envi­ron­men­tal caus­es.

Some dis­par­i­ties emerge when focus­ing instead on what sorts of caus­es Amer­i­cans care most about per­son­al­ly, or where they donate their time and/or mon­ey to the most. While youth/families is also the top cause in this con­text (18%), edu­ca­tion (11%) falls to fourth place, after ani­mals and med­ical research (12% each).

Look­ing across these two ques­tions at spe­cif­ic caus­es, the 12% of Amer­i­cans who focus their own atten­tions pre­dom­i­nate­ly on animals-related caus­es rep­re­sents a three­fold increase over the 4% say­ing char­i­ties should pri­or­i­tize this sort of cause. Mean­while, Amer­i­cans are less like­ly to per­son­al­ly pri­or­i­tize edu­ca­tion (11%), human rights (7%) or glob­al health (3%) caus­es than they are to say char­i­ties should focus on these (15%, 12% and 7%, respec­tive­ly). Look­ing specif­i­cal­ly at where dif­fer­ent groups of Amer­i­cans per­son­al­ly focus on giv­ing their time and/or mon­ey:

  • Matures are less like­ly than any oth­er gen­er­a­tion to pri­or­i­tize youth/family caus­es (19% Mil­len­ni­als, 18% Gen Xers, 19% Baby Boomers and 10% Matures), while being more like­ly than oth­er gen­er­a­tions to focus their giv­ing on med­ical research caus­es (9%, 12%, 12% and 22%). Mil­len­ni­als, for their part, are more like­ly than their elder coun­ter­parts to pri­or­i­tize edu­ca­tion (15%, 9%, 8% and 8%).
  • Democ­rats (11%) are again more like­ly than either Repub­li­cans or Inde­pen­dents (4% each) to focus on human rights, while both Democ­rats and Inde­pen­dents (7% each) are twice as like­ly as Repub­li­cans (3%) to focus their giv­ing on envi­ron­men­tal caus­es. Inde­pen­dents are also twice as like­ly as Repub­li­cans to pri­or­i­tize edu­ca­tion relat­ed caus­es (14% vs. 7%).

Over 19% of U.S. adults sup­port education-related caus­es accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN. These con­sumers are slight­ly more like­ly than aver­age to be under age 35 and over-index for hav­ing chil­dren under age 18 in the home. In addi­tion, these con­sumers are more like­ly than aver­age to pay for col­lege tuition or child­care in the next year. Near­ly 25% of these con­sumers have tak­en action as a result of an out-of-home ad they've seen in the past 30 days, a rate that is much high­er than aver­age.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able as part of a sub­scrip­tion to AdMall for Agen­cies. Media com­pa­nies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­ence Intel­li­gence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.