Youth Advocacy Trends

Filed in 2. advocacy tools, Real World Activism by on September 25, 2013 1 Comment

When do moments become movements?  America’s youth — and young people worldwide — are accelerating social change at an unprecedented pace. From education reform to humanitarian relief and every cause in between, today’s mash-up generation has learned to jump over traditional borders as true global citizens.

A decade ago (2004), America’s children ages 18 and under, reportedly contributed more than 1.3 billion hours of service each year and many were personally responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a cause or a charity.  Since that time, youth civic participation has continued to rise, despite conflicting reports which suggest that youth are largely disengaged and disinterested.

Part of the confusion may be an issue of terminology and how opportunities for advocacy are structured.

For example:

  • Though 98% identify with a “cause” youth confidence in nonprofits has declined.
    • 93% “want to” volunteer, but not as traditionally structured
    • 90% believe more deeply in their own social innovations versus traditional approaches
    • 73% believe they have the ability & desire to launch a (social) entrepreneurial endeavor

That said, there’s an enormous opportunity for non-profits to engage “pint-sized” philanthropists.  According to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy,  nine-out-of-ten children ages 8-to-19 give to charity.

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