We get asked often about why causes and movements should focus on making space for young people to organize. We try to challenge the idea that it’s because “young people are the future,” rather, it’s precisely because they are a part of the present that they play a critical role in creating change.
This quick guide offers some guidance on how to rally young people for your cause on GivingTuesday and beyond.
Young people are interested in taking meaningful action for causes and that may or may not include donating. Often, this age group is more interested in taking an active role within your organization, volunteering, advocacy, and offering their voice. In fact, the latest GivingTuesday Data Commons research finds that:
“Today, it’s all about engagement and young people are leading the charge. Millennials and Gen Z would rather pay for a tour of your sustainable farm than cough up the $200 for a signature gala. They’d prefer to network while building a playground in an under-resourced neighborhood than rub elbows over pastry at a Chamber of Commerce business mixer. Young people are hyper-aware, growing up in a 24-hour news and social media cycle. They aren’t content to sit on the sidelines and mail in a check.” – Your Org’s Future Depends on Engaging Young People Now
Think about how and why young people might be interested in your projects. What are the issues that your organization touches upon that have the most impact on youth’s lives or futures? Empower young people by offering them a seat at the table – their voice can help you shape your program. (Pro-tip: offer multiple seats so you can avoid tokenism). Create meaningful roles for young people in your organization. Break down barriers to entry and give young people the power to lead in your movement.
Identify the age group you’re targeting, get laser specific, and develop your outreach strategy accordingly. You’ll find many Millennials on Facebook, but if you want to reach folks in the 12-25 set, you’re going to have to engage elsewhere.
In October 2020, GivingTuesday hosted a webinar with TikTok and a number of social media managers who shared how they’re using the platform to build their communities and reach young people. Check out our webinar recording here. And join the conversation in our Learning Lab to find out how your fellow nonprofits are using the platform (and join our follow train!)
Since 2011, Twitch Creators – many are young people – have amassed over $150 million for charities around the world. Learn how to engage the Twitch Creator community here.
According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 85 percent of teenagers (ages 13–17) say they use YouTube consistently. Check out YouTube Social Impact page for ideas and examples of how nonprofits are using the platform to engage youth.
Start a Discord channel and invite young people to use it to plan ways to get involved and move the needle on your cause area – not just with your organization, but broadly.
Great read on how young organizers are shifting power (from Mobilisation Lab)
5 Tips for Engaging Young Volunteers (Volunteer Match)
Research on teenagers and their desire for social change (DoSomething)
Young People Want to Change the World. Nonprofits Can Help
“We, the youth, have so much to give. We just need the space to implement our ideas. Give us that space and watch us change the world. The future starts with the present.” – Raziel, Puerto Rico
“It doesn’t matter what color you are, how old you are, or what your culture is. We all can make a change” – Logan, United States
“Don’t let your age stop you from what you want to do. Your age does not determine your impact” – Khloe, United States
Learn more about the GivingTuesdaySpark movement at GivingTuesdaySpark.org