Citizen Re:Generation - Imagine Canada

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Citizen Re:Generation Understanding Active Citizen Engagement Among Canada’s Information Age Generations

Robert Barnard Denise Andrea Campbell Shelley Smith With contributions from Don Embuldeniya

Citizen Re:Generation Understanding Active Citizen Engagement Among Canada’s Information Age Generations

Robert Barnard Denise Andrea Campbell Shelley Smith With contributions from Don Embuldeniya Funded by: Human Resources Development Canada Canadian Heritage Communication Canada Labatt Breweries Canada

©D-Code, 2003 ISBN 1-55401-062-4 D-Code 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 251 Toronto, ON M5V 3A8 Phone: 416-599-5400 Toll free: 1-800-448-4044 [email protected]

Citizen Re:Generation Table of Contents



Executive Summary




Setting the Stage: Generational Conditioning


Modes: Charitable Giving

Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis Innovative Practices Case Studies

11 13 20


Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis Innovative Practices Case Studies

25 29 39


Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis Innovative Practices Case Studies

43 47 49

Participation in Political Parties

Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis

51 53


Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis Innovative Practices Case Studies

54 58 59

Recreation and Social Participation

Key Findings from the Literature Data Analysis Innovative Practices Case Studies

64 66 67

Table of Contents, continued.

Faith-Based Participation

Key Findings from the Literature Innovative Practices Case Study

72 75


Key Findings from the Literature Innovative Practices Case Study

77 84

Influences: Diversity

Key Findings from the Literature


Life Stage

Key Findings from the Literature


Population Mobility

Key Findings from the Literature



Key Findings from the Literature



Key Findings from the Literature


Conclusion: Influences


Key Questions for Phase II


Next Steps


List of Figures and Tables


List of References


Acknowledgements This report was produced by D-Code with contributions from the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. At D-Code, Denise Andrea Campbell did the research, analysis, and writing for the Literature Review, Bibliography, and Gap Analysis. She also contributed to the strategic direction and layout of the final product. Shelley Smith did the research and writing for the Innovative Practices Case Studies. She was one of the originators of the project and helped to drive the project from conception to final product. Robert Barnard co-created the project and provided strategic direction and analysis throughout. At the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, Don Embuldeniya conducted the data analysis component of the project with assistance from David Lasby. Dr. Michael Hall and Dr. Cathy Barr provided project direction and comments on drafts of this report. A number of individuals were invaluable to the research process. We would like to thank Neil Nevitte from the University of Toronto for his guidance and support. Kathryn McMullen from Canadian Policy Research Networks was instrumental in shaping the employment section.We would also like to thank all those who contributed their time and insights to the case studies. We would also like to thank Human Resources Development Canada, Canadian Heritage, Communication Canada, & Labatt Breweries of Canada for their financial support.

Executive Summary Are Canadians between the ages of 15 and 34 – Canada’s Information Age Generations (IAGs) – apathetic and disengaged from civil society? Or are they engaged on their own terms and active in developing new ways to involve themselves in the social, cultural, political, and economic life of the country? If so, what implications might this have for organizations and institutions that seek to involve young Canadians? To answer these questions, D-Code and the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy partnered to conduct a groundbreaking study of citizen engagement among Canada’s Information Age Generations. Phase I of the study consisted of a literature review, statistical analyses using the 2000 National Survey of Giving,Volunteering and Participating and the 2000 Canadian Election Study, and case studies of 18 organizations. Phase II will consist of a quantitative and qualitative research study of Canadians aged 15 to 34. Phase I was made possible through the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Labatt Breweries of Canada, Communication Canada, and Human Resources Development Canada. Phase I explored whether IAGs are averse to civic engagement, whether social well-being and social cohesion are being threatened by the attitudes and behaviours of IAGs, and the extent to which there is a crisis of youth civic engagement in Canada. It examined eight “modes” of engagement: charitable giving, volunteering, voting, activism, participation in political parties, social and recreational participation, faith-based participation, and employment.Where possible, inter-generational differences were examined for comparative purposes. To shed greater light on citizenship trends among the IAGs, the study also explored five factors that influence citizenship: diversity, life stage, mobility, technology, and media. The findings show mixed, but hopeful, news. It appears that many IAGs want to be involved, but they expect different forms of engagement than do older Canadians. The majority (71%) of IAGs made charitable donations in 2000 totaling $1.1 billion and accounting for 22% of all donations made in that year.Contrary to the stereotypical view of IAGs as uniformly financially challenged

and self-absorbed, it appears that many young Canadians have both the capacity and the heart to support charitable causes. Most had compassion for those in need. Our research indicates, however, that more so than older Canadians, IAGs want their donations to count and are interested in supporting initiatives that seek solutions to problems rather merely applying band-aids to them. IAGs also appear to want more involvement and greater say in how their contributions are spent. Organizations that can tap into this desire to tackle root causes and involve young donors may have some success in developing a new generation of active and engaged philanthropists. Although far fewer IAGs volunteered (26%) than made donations in 2000, their contribution was nevertheless valuable, totaling 287 million hours or the equivalent of 150,000 full-time jobs. Most IAGs volunteered to support a cause they believed in, but most also displayed a pragmatic attitude to volunteering, using it to learn new job-related skills and to enhance employment opportunities. However, they are often frustrated by what they perceive as the ineffectiveness of nonprofit organizations. To tap into the potential represented by IAGs, organizations should allow volunteers to have more say in how and when they contribute, demonstrate results, listen to and show that they have heard youthful voices, and understand the schoolwork-family pressures that may require different timetables and timeframes for young volunteers (e.g., more “after hours” volunteer opportunities; more short-term, goaloriented opportunities, etc.). In the political sphere, voter turnout and participation in political parties are low among IAGs. Only slightly more than two thirds (67%) of IAGs voted in the last federal election; only 7% are members of political parties. More so than older Canadians, IAGs appear to lack political knowledge and are less likely to perceive real political choice.They are more cynical about political parties, and often see them lagging behind the courts and the media when it comes to effecting change on important IAG issues such as equality rights. Activism (i.e., political engagement through movements and coalitions that are largely outside of electoral politics) appears to hold greater appeal for young Canadians. This may be because


Executive Summary

activist venues offer greater opportunities for participation; are more interactive; allow IAGs to have some input into objectives, strategies, and tactics; and address issues of concern to IAGs (e.g., diversity, globalization, the environment, etc.). Organizations and institutions that want to engage IAGs in political issues need to find ways to be more inclusive, interactive, and outcome-oriented. Participation in recreation and social activities can help to strengthen bonds among people and within communities. It appears, however, that school, work, and family pressures have combined to give IAGs less time for recreation and social participation than they had in the past. Young working Canadians are putting in longer hours; increases in user fees for recreational activities have placed some activities beyond the reach of lower income IAGs; and youth from immigrant and Aboriginal families, and youth with disabilities, have fewer opportunities open to them. More research is needed to assess the impact this may have on the civic engagement of Canadian IAGs. More research is also needed on emerging forms of social engagement among young Canadians, such as the development of online communities of interest enabled by the Internet, and of less formal groupings of young people around specific interests and issues. Most available research makes a link between religious participation and other forms of civic engagement, such as charitable giving and volunteering. Our findings show, however, that faith communities may face particular challenges in attracting and engaging IAGs. Only about 5% of this group attends a place of worship weekly, compared to 30% of older Canadians. IAGs appear to approach religion as they do other areas of their lives: they manifest a desire to select only those aspects that appeal to them (e.g., the religious rites and rituals, not the rules and regulations), expect a holistic outlook that connects faith to their personal lives and the world around them, and want religious values to be relevant and to address contemporary social issues (e.g., equality and diversity issues) in positive ways. Faith communities that seek to attract and engage IAGs may need to use communication methods, such as music, video, and new

media, that appeal to youth, and to offer opportunities for young people to explore their religious values in relation to the issues that matter to them. Finally, employment engages citizens in the life of the community by giving them the means to support themselves and their families and the wherewithal to “pay their way” as taxpayers and as voluntary contributors to social causes. IAGs, like other members of society, want gainful employment. Money and benefits matter to them. But so does meaningful and fulfilling work. The desire among IAGs to combine making a living with making a difference has the potential to lead to increased interest in the voluntary sector as an employment destination of choice, in “good corporate citizens” as preferred employers in the private sector, and in expansion of social entrepreneurship, which combines doing well in business with doing good in the community. To attract IAGs, however, both the voluntary and private sectors may have to address perceived shortcomings, such as limited ability for professional development and advancement in the voluntary sector,fewer opportunities to “make a difference” in the private sector, and the need for better work-life balance in both sectors. When considering how best to engage IAGs, organizations and institutions should keep in mind the forces that have shaped these young people. IAGs are a diverse group that values equality, tolerance and social inclusivity. IAGs are increasingly postponing major life decisions (e.g., the decision to marry, to purchase a home, to start a family, etc.), which may have implications for how they connect to their communities.They are a mobile generation, ready to pick up and move in search of opportunity. And, more so than other generations, they have been influenced by technology and the media. The former has given them the means to search for information and connections at their own convenience, and the expectation that they will be dealt with in an immediate and interactive fashion.The latter has influenced their views and has the potential to contribute to their disengagement (e.g., through negative media coverage) or engagement (e.g., by offering opportunities to interact with and even influence the media through their participation).


Executive Summary

Phase I of this study shows that IAGs are more engaged as citizens than is commonly thought. They have a strong participatory instinct that is manifested in both traditional and non-traditional ways. For organizations and institutions, the challenge is to come to grips with what distinguishes this diverse, mobile, technologically savvy generation from other Canadians and to find new ways to tap their enormous potential. For IAGs, the challenge is to find a way into traditional organizations with a view to making them responsive to their own needs and preferred methods of working, and to create new, more relevant forms of engagement for themselves and their peers.


Introduction A healthy Canadian society depends on the active involvement of its citizens in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the nation. It requires individuals not only to pursue their own goals, but also to contribute to the growth and well being of the community. Active, engaged citizens participate in community building, help maintain the economic vitality of society, and pursue communal interest alongside self-interest. The context for civic activity is changing rapidly as increasing social needs combine with limited government resources to demand greater contributions of time, money, and services from individuals. At the same time, societal trends are influencing the way citizens interact and connect with the state and community organizations. The Information Age Generations (Canadians between the ages of 15 and 34) who grew up during the Information Age may be most affected by these trends. But are these young Canadians equipped and driven to be active citizens, or are they disconnected and disengaged from society’s systems and structures? Do they have the same values and behaviours as older cohorts, or are they redefining the meaning and activities associated with citizenship? Do they connect with traditional social and political institutions, or are they creating new ones? The dominant view is that young Canadians are apathetic, self-absorbed, uninterested, and disengaged from politics and community. Proponents of this view point to several troubling signs: record low turnout at the polls, decreased membership in political parties, declining volunteerism, and increasing disillusionment and disconnection from community and civil society institutions. The Information Age Generations are often characterized as “dot-com” youth, plugged into virtual communities and unplugged from the realities of civic life. But is this the whole story? Gauging active citizenship by traditional measures ignores the changes and influences of the Information Age and the unique realities of the Information Age Generations. For example, activities that fall outside traditional definitions of civic engagement (e.g., activism, social entrepreneurship) are often overlooked in analyses of the patterns of engagement among young Canadians. To enhance and sustain

civic engagement among the Information Age Generations, we need to understand their relationships with various facets of civic engagement.We need to look at demographic factors to predict future trends, inform public policy, and plan programs. We need to understand young people’s expectations of and experiences with civil society organizations, and how these translate into participation.We need to ask why some young people are more engaged than others, but not paint young people with one brush. Finally, we need to expand our analysis of civic engagement to include its many interconnected facets. Objectives: Moving beyond research to inspire change

D-Code, a strategy, research, and development company and Canada’s leading expert on the Information Age Generations, partnered with the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy (CCP), Canada’s leading source of research on the charitable and voluntary sector, to conduct research and analysis on citizen engagement among the Information Age Generations. The project has three objectives: • to understand the current patterns of civic engagement among the Information Age Generations; • to inspire civic engagement among the Information Age Generations; and, • to strengthen the capacity of public, private, and voluntary sector organizations to engage the Information Age Generations in building a stronger Canada. This study brings together many pieces of research and analysis on citizenship. It breaks civic engagement into eight interconnected ‘modes’: volunteerism, charitable giving, recreation and social participation, faith-based participation, voting, participation in political parties, activism, and employment. In understanding citizenship as a multifaceted process, we aim to challenge one-dimensional thinking (e.g.,“I give money to charities, therefore I am an active citizen” or “I don’t vote, therefore I am not an active citizen”) without assuming that citizens need to be involved in all modes to be active participants in society.



One goal of this project is to inspire change. This study is intended to be a roadmap for those who want to connect their concerns to collective action. It points to the vehicles of engagement (the modes) that appear most effective. It also gives decision-makers in the political, social/cultural, and economic spaces of society the opportunity to look critically at their own structures, processes, and ways of involving young people, and to start making the changes necessary to increase their effectiveness. How to Read this Report

This report presents findings in three sections: Modes of Engagement, Information Age Influences, and Gap Analysis. In the Modes of Engagement section, we examine patterns and issues affecting each mode through key insights from existing research, new analysis of existing data, and case studies of organizations that are effectively engaging young people in each mode. In the Information Age Influences section, we explore the impact of societal trends on the Information Age Generations.These trends include technology, media, economic globalization, diversity, lifestage, and population mobility. In the Gap Analysis section, we discuss the questions that emerge from our research. These questions will drive the next phase of the study. About the Literature Review

The existing research on citizenship among young people is varied and fragmented. Research on charitable giving is disconnected from research on activism, which is disconnected from research on recreation and social participation. Many potentially valuable resources fail to discuss youth. Many of those that have a youth lens treat young people as a group of ‘sames’ and ‘alikes’ and fail to talk about subgroups, systemic challenges, different expectations, and the need for different facilitation. Some forms of engagement, such as voting and volunteerism, have received considerable attention while others, such as recreation and activism, have received far less scrutiny.

Approximately 200 sources were consulted. The literature review introduces the integrated nature of citizenship and contributes to the Gap Analysis in the final section. About the Data Analysis

The data analysis looks at data from two national surveys. The first is the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (NSGVP), conducted by Statistics Canada in the fall of 2000. Interviews were conducted with 14,724 Canadians aged 15 and older who were asked about their giving, volunteering and participating over the previous year. The second survey is the 2000 Canadian Election Study (CES). The CES is a three-wave panel study.The first wave was conducted during the 2000 federal election campaign; the second wave was conducted in the days following the election; the third wave was a mail survey sent to volunteer respondents in the months following the election.The results from both surveys are weighted to increase the number of respondents in each survey sample to match the total number of individuals in Canada. The data analyses provide a preliminary look at what may be a distinct generation by examining a variety of aspects of charitable giving, volunteering, and civic participation, including: types of support provided by the IAGs, types of organizations supported, motivations for participating, barriers to participating, and benefits of participating. Although the focus is on Canadians aged 15 to 34, where appropriate, comparisons are made to those aged 35 years and older. Due to methodological limitations, data sources available to us provide very little information about certain segments of the population. For example, we are unable to provide a clear picture of civic engagement among the IAGs in ethnic communities, rural areas, and various religious communities. Additionally, data sources pose challenges in exploring some aspects of political engagement among the IAGs. For example, we have very limited data available on political and social activism.



About the Innovative Practices Case Studies

The organizations profiled in the case studies all ‘get it’ – they understand the participatory nature and needs of young people, they value the complexity and diversity of young people’s contributions, and they provide meaningful mechanisms that enable young people to be active citizens. The case study organizations are drawn from the various sub-sectors of the voluntary sector (e.g., social services, health, social justice, international development, environment, arts and culture, etc.) and from all regions of the country. Each case study profiles one specific mode of engagement, but participation in the case study organization in effect enables young people to connect through the other modes. Engagement feeds engagement. The case studies illustrate how organizations are adapting to social changes, tapping into the participatory instincts of young people, and helping young people make connections through participation in social systems and institutions, and the community. Common to each of the organizations is a deliberate focus on building a better society through the active participation of young people. Equally, these organizations realize that young people may have different life experiences and influences, but that they require respect and expect outcomes like everyone else. In conducting the case studies, we gathered background research on each organization and interviewed a key member of the organization to examine why and how it successfully engages young people. The case studies are based on key success factors that were identified through the literature review for attracting, informing, retaining, and engaging young people.These factors served as a ‘check list’ of innovative practices for case study organizations. They are outlined below. Success factors

Participation has a personal and transformative effect. Participation allows young people to learn new skills, develop their leadership abilities, experience personal growth (e.g., build confidence, develop interpersonal skills, etc.), develop a sense of empowerment and agency, and

engage in critical thinking and continuous learning. It also enables young people to put their personal beliefs and values into practice. Participation is action-oriented and leads to tangible outcomes. Programs and initiatives are designed with actionoriented, clear, relevant, and achievable goals that make complex social issues accessible to young people.Young people feel that their efforts are appreciated and valued by the organization, receive feedback on the result of their efforts, and feel they are making a difference. Participation is progressive and multi-layered. The organization allows young people to progress in their involvement, from supporters and participants to organizers and leaders, so that they achieve multiple levels of engagement and their energy is sustained. Young people are encouraged to participate in a meaningful way and to develop capacity in other modes of civic engagement. The organization allocates resources and has a deliberate/ envisioned strategy to engage young people. Engaging young people is not a side issue, but a core part of the organization’s strategic objectives. As such, resources are dedicated to youth and young adult programming and outreach. The organization evaluates the effectiveness of these programs and builds its capacity to better engage young people. The organization operates with a participatory and/or nonhierarchical structure. The organization has broken structural barriers to greater participation by young people and practices inclusivity. As a matter of policy, it involves young people in decisionmaking, program planning, and policy development (on boards, committees, etc.). It also facilitates intergenerational reciprocity so young people and adults can work and learn together in collaborative,respectful,and non-hierarchical ways.



Participation fosters community connectedness and social networks. Participation enables young people to connect and collaborate with diverse community networks, as well as with like-minded people. Participation builds a sense of solidarity and belonging, develops social networks, and is fun. Each case study addresses how these factors operate in practice.The case study organizations are by no means the only organizations in Canada that are effectively engaging young people as active citizens. We selected these case studies because they reflect a diversity of approaches for engaging young people and demonstrate the common elements within these approaches.Whereas the literature review and data analysis provided us with key success factors, the case studies take this one step further by illustrating how these principles actually work.


Setting the Stage Generational Conditioning

Before we examine the civic engagement of the Information Age Generations (Canadians aged 15 to 34), we first have to understand what distinguishes them from their elders. D-Code’s benchmark work, Chips & Pop, laid out some important starting points and identified two factors at play: (1) the generational genes that “influence different generations in a consistent manner regardless of the era or the environment in which generations are raised,”1 e.g., teenagers of the ’20s, ’60s and today are characteristically rebellious, risk-takers, idealistic and easily adaptive; and, (2) the differences between generations that are the result of generational conditioning – “a unique set of experiences spanning each generation’s formative years (roughly from birth until the age of eighteen) [that] condition it and help to shape its unique set of values.”2 As we consider the Information Age Generations (IAGs), these generational conditioning experiences must be kept in mind. They include: The Information Revolution: IAGs are “contemporaneous with the most significant socio-economic shift since society collectively left the farm for the factory... the Information Revolution... computers and the Internet, and all of the related technologies that allow us to crunch, store, send, and create information of all kinds.”3 Pop Culture: With 300 channels at their fingertips, IAGs grew up with the expansion of choice, emergence of global culture, and information overload. The Global Village: Globalization has given IAGs a dizzying array of choices in product and services, and access to ethno cultural and racial diversity.With the rapid acceleration of global transactions, IAGs grew comfortable with velocity, convergence and multiplicity. They also saw growing social fragmentation, as the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ widens globally and locally.

The Broken Family and the Ensemble Cast: Increasingly relaxed divorce laws mean that IAGs have survived broken or dysfunctional families, do-it-yourself childhoods, and have “developed an ensemble cast of friends to lean on, a sort of surrogate family.”4 Recession Spending and Global Economics: IAGs and their parents survived the recessions of 1981 and 1991, the debt reduction of the 1990s, and the retreat of the state from social welfare programs. They have grown up questioning “the promise of endless prosperity,”5 the collective entitlements of the welfare state, and the role of a globalized economic order. The Party’s Over: Political scandals, the blurring of once-distinct political ideologies, and decreasing party system effectiveness – IAGs watched it all on television. Some tried to get involved in political parties to change things, but now many ask,“What is the point?” Television Wars,Wars on TV, and Wars in Reality: IAGs grew up watching people die in the movies and on television. “While their parents or grandparents had talked about war as something that took away friends and family,”6 for IAGs growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, war seemed one step removed from reality. The Gulf War (1991) was fought and observed at a safe distance. Watching it on TV, IAGs did not experience the same sense of urgency and sacrifice, as did older generations.

1Robert Barnard, Dave Cosgrave, & Jennifer Welsh, Chips & Pop: Decoding the Nexus Generation (Toronto: Malcolm Lester Books, 1998), p. 26. 2Barnard et al., Chips, p. 26. 3Barnard et al., Chips, p. 34. 4Barnard et al., Chips, p. 52 5Barnard et al., Chips, p. 53. 6Barnard et al., Chips, p. 55.


Setting the Stage / Generational Conditioning

The Nuclear Threat and Global Politics: IAGs survived the threat of nuclear war between two superpowers and the fall of communism.They grew up watching countries appear, disappear, and partition as political maps are constantly redrawn. Individuals and corporations, and international political and economic institutions, have crowded nation-states in the global political arena.“History, just like technology, was moving incredibly fast.”7 Risky Love and Pharmaceuticals: The sexual freedom that ‘the pill’ offered this generation was rapidly tempered with the emergence of AIDS and a growing consciousness about sexually transmitted diseases. IAGs are well informed on the topic of sex, yet fearful of some of its consequences.


The Information Age Generations share some of the characteristics of youth of earlier times, but are different in many ways from their elders. Organizations that hope to engage these young people will have to keep in mind their special qualities and characteristics, and find ways to turn these to their advantage. The sections that follow present findings on eight modes of civic engagement among young Canadians and include case studies that show how some organizations have successfully met the challenge of involving IAGs.

Head of the Class: “The expansion of education produces a more articulate, better informed, more engaged, and more sophisticated citizenry.It is also a more demanding citizenry...[These people] are not only equipped with a new set of participatory skills,but also they carry a new set of preferences and expectations.”8 Energy, Blue Box & Environmental Doomsday: The 1973 energy crisis taught older IAGs that natural resources were limited. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 capped off a decade that produced overflowing landfill sites, acid rain, ozone holes and poisoned fish. ‘Environmental doomsdayism’ became part of popular media. Earth Day, the Blue Box, and other aspects of environmentalism became second nature to IAGs. The Church Files: IAGs’ formative mainstream religious experiences were marked by a decline in the credibility of established religion, corruption and scandal in televangelism, and instances of bizarre cult behaviour. Increasing diversity via immigration, media, and travel have put non-Christian religions on the Canadian map.IAGs question the ‘my religion as absolute truth and authority’ view.

7Barnard et al., Chips, p. 56. 8Neil Nevitte, “Value Change and Reorientations in the Citizen-State Relations,” Canadian Public Policy,Vol. xxvi. (2000), p. 80.


Mode: Charitable Giving Key Findings from the Literature

Charitable giving – supporting charitable and nonprofit organizations through voluntary donations of money – is one form of civic engagement. How and to what extent do IAGs participate in giving?

organizations need to demonstrate how communal interest and self-interest can coincide. Event-based donations may be one such way to meet both needs. Through giving, many youth are empowered

Young people are active in charitable giving

Contrary to the stereotype that they are materialistic and apathetic, IAGs, as a group, are engaged in charitable giving. Although Canadians aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to donate (86% made charitable donations in 2000), IAGs also support charitable causes. For example, 64% of the youngest IAGs (those aged 15 to 24) made donations totaling $308 million in 20009, even though the majority of these young people were still in school and those who were working had barely started their careers. Seventy-seven percent of older IAGs (those aged 25 to 24) donated to charitable causes and gave roughly the same amount on average as 35-44 year olds ($229 and $242 respectively).10 Across Canada,“teenagers are becoming vital players in the nonprofit world by starting their own charities, sitting on grant-making boards, raising money, volunteering, and leading efforts to solve problems in their neighbourhoods, schools, and beyond.”11

Donors increasingly want to have a say in where and how their charitable dollars are spent. Canadians of all generations are moving to this notion of ‘donor-directed giving’.13 Commentators on the social entrepreneurship and youth in philanthropy movements note that young people want to be involved in the charitable process.When IAGs in youth philanthropy programs raise and grant money, they tend to support efforts that tackle root causes (e.g., poverty and violence) rather than those that deal with effects (e.g., food-banks and shelters).14 Their behaviour demonstrates confidence in their ability to help “change the performance capacity of society”15 and applies activism to philanthropy. In his work on charitable youth movements, Marchetti states that young people see traditional political action as ineffective in solving social problems, but that through charitable youth movements, young people have an impact on the problems they care about.16

Some youth have money to give

Not all IAGs have low incomes, are in debt, or are cash-strapped. A 1999 joint study by Royal Mutual Funds, D-Code, and the Research | Strategy Group revealed that 48% of 18-35 year olds are investors; that, on average, they started investing at age 22; and that they each had an estimated $27,000 in investments – or a total of $100 billion. Furthermore, 63% believed they would be financially better off than their parents.12 Clearly some young Canadians are able to donate to causes that capture their attention. There are young Canadians, however, who don’t want to give (see data analysis that follows). Some IAGs do not donate, or donate infrequently, because they are saving for their future or are taking on adult responsibilities. Some are part of the ‘me generation’ and do not donate because they want to spend their money on other things that are important to them. To attract these young people, charitable

9Michael Hall, Larry McKeown and Karen Roberts, Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Highlights from the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2001), p. 18. 10Hall et al., Caring, p. 18. 11Domenica Marchetti, “Charity’s Youth Movement,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy. (Jan 9, 2003). 12Royal Mutual Funds Inc., D-Code, Research | Strategy Group,“New Wave: Investigating the new wave of Canadian investors” (Toronto, 1999) 13Michael Adams, Better Happy That Rich? Canadians, Money and the Meaning of Life (Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Limited, 2000), p. 134. 14Barbara Oates, interview by author, April 2003,Vancouver-Toronto, Canada,Telephone. 15Sherrill Johnson, “Literature Review on Social Entrepreneurship” (Edmonton: Canadian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, November 2000), p. 5. 16Marchetti.


Charitable Giving / Key findings from the Literature

There has also been a rise in issue-focused philanthropy among young people and a propensity for youth to give to youth-led initiatives, which tend to be more activist in orientation.17 Youth want their money to count

Whether they are affluent or cash-strapped, many IAGs want their money to have an impact. Smith says that the belief that their dollars count is the most important factor in young people’s sense of loyalty or connection to an organization.18 Organizations need to ensure that the message of impact effectively reaches the early twenty-something group. Social entrepreneurship has a growing appeal for young Canadians who are searching for new ideas and strategies to tackle enduring social problems, ineffective organizations and uni-dimensional approaches. It thrives in part because of the desire to make dollars count.19 As society accelerates and continues to change, and as boundaries begin to shift across sectors, “a new generation of social entrepreneurs is emerging... driven by innovations increasingly committed to using market-based approaches to solve social problems.”20 More attention needs to be given to this new area of charitable activity and the role of IAGs within it.

Because charitable traditions have developed differently in across cultural communities, one style of asking and giving does not fit all. Understanding these differences has implications for how engagement in the charitable giving mode is recognized and supported across cultures, classes, and religions.22 Conclusion

IAGs not only have the capacity to give, but to give in new ways.They bring their own priorities to charitable giving. Their desire to tackle root causes and to make sure that their donations have a real impact gives young people the potential to develop into active and engaged philanthropists.

IAGs’ involvement challenges the charitable community

Not only do the skills and expectations of IAGs challenge old assumptions about approach and impact, but their diversity also challenges the charitable community to become more inclusive. The Youth Leadership Institute examined youth in philanthropy programs across North America and found that although most youth philanthropists are still drawn from traditional leadership circles (white, middle to upper-class, academic), participation is gradually becoming more diverse. 21 Barb Oates of the Vancouver Foundation adds that young philanthropists are often effective bridges between different cultures and traditions in Canada. For example, Aboriginal youth can play a bridging role between the British tradition of charity and the Aboriginal tradition of stewardship.

17Oates. 18Shelley Smith, “Charitable Giving and the Information Age Generations,” Canadian Fundraiser eNews. (June 30, 2002). 19Johnson, p. 15. 20Johnson, p. 4. 21Marchetti. 22— “Philanthropy in Many Cultures,” Part of Module 1 - Defining Fundraising Basics: The Philanthropic Context in Canada (Burnaby, B.C.: British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2002).


Charitable Giving Data Analysis

Canada’s Information Age Generations play a significant role in charitable giving in Canada. Collectively they donated $1.1 billion to charity in 2000, which accounted for 22% of all charitable donations made that year. These young Canadians also made in-kind contributions (donations of goods) to support the work of charitable and nonprofit organizations. This section of the report explores their practices and attitudes regarding charitable giving.

Figure 1.1. Percentage of the population making donations and average annual donation by age group, 2000 100%

$500 84% 78%








Charitable Giving Among the Information Age Generations: Results from the 2000 National Survey of Giving,Volunteering and Participating (NSGVP)

$180 $-


0% 35-54 Yrs

55+ Yrs

Age Group Donor Rate

Average Annual Donation

Figure 1.2. Total amount of donations and percentage of total donations by age group, 2000 60%

3,000 $2,307 Million


$1,065 Million


$1,567 Million


1,000 32% 20% 22%

Million ($)

Seventy-one percent of Canadian IAGs (Canadians aged 15-34) made financial donations to charities in 2000 (see Figure 1.1).Although IAGs donated at a lower rate than did Canadians in other age groups, their contributions accounted for more than one fifth (22%) of all charitable donations (Figure 1.2). There were differences between younger and older IAGs. Less than two thirds (64%) of 15to 24-year-olds made donations, compared to more than three quarters (77%) of those aged 25 to 34. On average, IAGs aged 15 to 24 gave less than those aged 25 to 34 ($118 vs. $229). As a group, IAGs tended to give less than did Canadians over the age of 35, making average annual donations of $180, compared to $285 for those aged 35 to 54 and $311 for those aged 55 years or older (see Figure 1.1). More than one third of IAGs (35%) made $1-23 in charitable donations annually; only 3% donated $1088 or more.

$(250) 15-34 Yrs

The support provided by IAG donors



-1,000 15-34 Yrs

35-54 Yrs

55+ Yrs

Age Group % of Total Donations

Total Amount of Donations


Charitable Giving / Data Analysis

A profile of IAG donors: Personal and economic characteristics

Charitable giving – whether people give and how much they give – is influenced by a variety of socio-demographic factors, such as age, sex, education, and income (see Table 1.1). In general, the characteristics of IAG donors tend to mirror those of older donors, although older Canadians were more likely to give and to make larger annual donations. Sex. Female IAGs were more likely to make donations than were male IAGs (75% vs. 66%) and to give more on average ($189 vs. $170 for male IAGs). Marital Status. Married IAGs (including those in commonlaw unions) were more likely to be donors and to give more than were those who were single. Nearly eight in ten (79%) of married IAGs made average annual donations of $228. Although fewer IAGs who were separated or divorced made donations, they gave more, on average ($249), than their married counterparts. Education. In general, the likelihood of making a donation tends to increase with education, ranging from 58% of those with less than a high school education to 80% of those with an undergraduate degree.The average annual donation also generally increases with education.The largest average annual donations were made by those with an undergraduate or graduate degree ($258 and $472 respectively). IAGs who were part-time students were more likely to give – and to give more – than were those who were full-time students.

Income. The likelihood of donating and of making larger donations generally increases with income level. More than eight in ten (83%) of IAGs with personal incomes of $60,000 or more made donations and gave an average of $499, compared to two thirds (66%) of IAGs with personal incomes of less than $20,000 who gave an average of $199. Ethnic Background. Charitable giving varies according to ethnic background. IAGs of Eastern European decent were the most likely to donate (94%), but those of Western European decent made the largest annual donation ($354). IAGs of South Asian decent were least likely to give (54%), but made the second highest annual donation ($301). Religious Affiliation. Religious affiliation appears to play an important role in the charitable giving of IAGs. IAGs who said they had a religious affiliation were much more likely to give, and to give more, than were those with no affiliation. IAGs who identified themselves as Protestants were the most likely to make donations (87% vs. 71% of Roman Catholics and 65% of those with no affiliation). They also made the largest average annual donation ($448). Urban/rural. IAGs who lived in rural areas (Non-Census Metropolitan Areas) were more likely to give than were their urban counterparts (74% vs. 69% of those in Census Metropolitan Areas). However, urban IAGs gave more on average ($193 vs. $145 for rural IAGs). Table 1.1 is on the following page.

Labour Force Status. Employed IAGs were more likely to be donors than those who were unemployed and those not in the labour force. Nearly three quarters (74%) of employed IAGs made donations, compared to 61% of those who were unemployed, and 62% of those who were not in the labour force. IAGs who were employed, whether full-time or parttime, also made higher average donations.


Charitable Giving / Data Analysis

Table 1.1. Rate of donating and average donation by age group, 200023 15-34 Yrs Rate Average (%) Donation ($)

Age Group 35-54 Yrs Rate Average (%) Donation ($)

55+ Yrs Rate Average (%) Donation ($)

Sex Male Female

66 75

170 189

83 86

285 286

76 81

328 298

Marital status Married/Common-law Single/Never Married Widow/Widower Separated/Divorced

79 65 … 69

228 140 … 249

87 73 78 75

295 221 265 267

82 60 77 67

297 397 336 336

72 72 72 67 57

153 218 185 124 142

74 83 88 78 71

261 251 309 235 223

74 81 81 … 73

341 299 286 … 359

58 69 72 78 80 76

121 198 135 161 258 472

73 86 83 87 85 90

114 204 294 252 499 577

71 83 81 84 89 86

190 236 374 390 686 609

57 69 68 75

116 133 144 108

… 88 90 78

… 237 349 357

… … … …

… … … …

61 75

121 157

83 85

198 364

… …

… …

74 77 67 61 62

201 209 176 81 131

87 87 86 70 76

307 299 372 180 169

84 82 91 70* 76

338 337 340 243 302

66 73 78 83

119 169 285 499

81 82 89 90

208 221 307 484

72 86 79 86

240 285 428 632

61 77 82 … 51 75 94 76 81 75

110 81 233 … 301 354 187 129 133 181

82 82 87 66 88 94 94 … 92 90

161 184 312 185 287 483 303 … 361 377

70 80 86 … … 80 84 … 93 90

207 249 364 … … 353 347 … 334 340

Religious affiliation No Religious Affiliation Roman Catholic Protestant Other

65 71 87 71

86 105 448 223

80 86 94 84

191 204 498 259

73 78 89 81

180 242 431 370

Location Non-CMA CMA

74 69

145 193

85 84

231 307

80 77

276 329

Type of economic family Single Married without children or none