Attracting Younger Generations


For a More Diverse Range of Philanthropists, Special issue of the Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing; Abstract deadline 30 Apr 2023

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Walter Wymer

Special issue

Attracting younger generations for a more diverse range of philanthropists

Co-editors of this special issue:

  • Claire van Teunenbroek, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Walter Wymer, University of Lethbridge, Canada
  • Ljiljana Najev Čačija, Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, University of Split, Croatia


  • Abstract due: April 30, 2023
  • Manuscripts due: September 30, 2023


  • Abstract: Interested authors should submit abstracts for editors to screen for congruence with the special issue theme. Editors will then provide feedback to submitting authors. Abstracts should not exceed 500 words (not including references).
  • Full manuscript: Authors whose abstracts were deemed relevant for the special issue should develop a full manuscript compliant with journal formatting guidelines.

Contextual description

Prosocial behaviour expressed via philanthropy is vital for any society beyond the revenue of charities, foundations, and lotteries. Taking care of one’s community can take many forms, like volunteering, giving money, giving blood, working for a foundation and knowledge sharing. Online platforms broaden the field further, for instance, via crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and modern means like Virtual Reality. The need to reactivate people’s prosocial behaviour is high as we are confronted with crisis after crisis, and philanthropy can play a crucial role in supporting our society. Therefore, ensuring that people are adequately supported in expressing their generosity is vital.

We argue that now is the time to focus on a more diverse group of philanthropists. Philanthropists engage in philanthropy by donating their time, money, knowledge, and/or reputation to charitable causes[1]. Anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of status or net worth. We can think of several ways to diversify the pool of philanthropists, for instance, by increasing our focus on including younger generations. Younger generations refer to those born after 1981 (i.e. generation Y, Z and Alpha). They are underrepresented among donors (Bekkers & Van Teunenbroek, 2020, 2022), and they are less likely to donate than their generational predecessors (Koczanski & Rosen, 2019), who are aging out and getting out from philanthropy. This is even though their altruistic values, which are related to giving (Andreoni, 2006), are just as high as those of their generational predecessors (Bekkers & Van Teunenbroek, 2020). Moreover, the same study reports that younger generations score higher on trust in philanthropic institutions than the older generation, and trust is an important aspect to consider while discussing giving behaviour (Bekkers, 2003). It might be that charitable organizations are not correctly approaching younger generations. As a result, they are missing out. Beyond the revenue of philanthropic organizations, activating a young person’s prosocial behaviour can open the door to a lifetime of social engagement, with positive experiences reinforcing giving as a helpful and fun activity (Body & Hogg, 2019).

Considering giving, younger generations could differ from older generations in how they (a) want to be approached to give (i.e. solicitation methods) and (b) how they express their philanthropic behaviour (i.e. giving methods). Younger generations may expect more information or more experience before they donate. For example, they want to see the impact of their donation (Gorczyca & Hartman, 2017), value engagement (Gorczyca & Hartman, 2017), and prefer to support causes rather than institutions (Feldman, Nixon, Brady, Brainer-Banker, & Wheeler, 2013). Some mechanisms impacting younger generations, like joy of giving[2], are expected to overlap with older generations, but they might be more profound. The popularity of service-learning programs in education encourages the younger generation to participate in the community more actively, simultaneously enhancing their education and engagement (Basinger & Bartholomew, 2006), making them socially aware (Blewitt, Parsons & Shane,2018). Connecting Virtual Reality to a solicitation method could be another way to attract younger generations (Kandaurova & Lee, 2019; Nelson, Anggraini, & Schlüter, 2020).

In terms of expressing their philanthropic behaviour, online platforms might be a better fit for younger generations, like giving via crowdfunding (Van Teunenbroek & Hasanefendic, 2022). Moreover, younger generations give less often to religious goals than older generations and are less loyal to charities in terms of making monthly donations (Bekkers & Van Teunenbroek, 2020). How will this impact the field of philanthropy?

Suggested topics

Attracting and activating a more diverse range of philanthropists relates to several fields and questions. In this special, we focus on attracting younger generations (i.e. generation Y, Z and Alpha), since they are underrepresented among the current group of philanthropists (Bekkers & Van Teunenbroek, 2020, 2022; Koczanski & Rosen, 2019). While generation Alpha is too young to make monetary contributions, considering their philanthropic citizenship is essential if we want to include them in the future (Body & Hogg, 2019; Body, Lau, & Josephidou, 2020). We welcome papers focusing on giving and asking for money, time (volunteering and knowledge sharing), blood and organs. In light of increasing diversity among philanthropists, topics can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What are the differences between younger and older generations in terms of their preferences for giving? Like the chance of giving, donation amounts, formal versus informal giving and donor loyalty? Also, the type of goals they support (like religious goals versus environmental goals).
  • What are the giving mechanisms supporting giving behaviour by younger generations, and why are they impacting their behaviour? Do they differ from before-defined mechanisms, or are some more profound?
  • How to ‘modernize’ existing ways to attract younger generations, and why are they effective? For example, using a specific nudge or communication style.
  • Should younger generations be approached differently than their generational predecessors while soliciting them to give?
  • What innovations and new technologies are needed to attract younger generations and ‘modernize’ the field of philanthropy?
  • What do younger generations expect from philanthropic organizations, and how would this impact the field of philanthropy (anticipated changes)? Consider, for instance, a higher need for quality signals and impact reports.
  • Considering philanthropic organizations, what organizational changes are needed to support the preferences of younger generations?

All articles in the special issue will be peer-reviewed. The Co-Editors will select papers for the special issue after concluding the peer review process.

Types of papers

In line with the focus of the Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing, we welcome both conceptual and empirical papers on recruiting younger donors to diversify the pool of philanthropists. For quantitative papers, we recommend that researchers preregister their designs (but this is not mandatory). Review papers are also welcome, and we recommend that authors focus on theory development rather than summarizing earlier accounts. In addition to research papers, we are also seeking the submission of Practice Papers (approximately 2500-3500 words) that aim to reflect and offer managerial implications that are relevant and valuable to organizations working within the remits of philanthropy and marketing. Papers dealing with success case histories may also be considered, provided that the experience presented offers the readership something new, innovative, and creative.

In addition to the Practice Papers, the Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing is also a facilitator of Academic Practice Partnerships (APPs). The APP facilitates mutually beneficial partnerships where resources, knowledge, and skills are shared. The exact nature of each partnership is contingent on the needs of the practice-based organization. We do not dictate terms and conditions but endeavour to offer practical guidelines for those interested and encourage all authors to submit an APP application within the remit of this call.

Manuscript Submission

Deadline for submission for peer review: September 1, 2023.

Special Issue authors should select ‘Special Issue Article’ and indicate the issue title when prompted. Submission materials should be prepared following the Author Guidelines of this journal. Manuscripts should be submitted online at We applaud data sharing during the review process.

Please do not submit a full manuscript for review to the special issue unless invited by the Co-Editors as a result of the abstract submission process.

For further help with submissions, please contact:


Andreoni, J. (2006). Philanthropy. Handbook of the economics of giving, altruism and reciprocity, 2, 1201-1269.

Basinger, N., & Bartholomew, K. (2006). Service-learning in nonprofit organizations: Motivations, expectations, and outcomes. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning12(2), 15-26.

Bekkers, R. (2003). Trust, accreditation, and philanthropy in the Netherlands. . Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 32(4), 596-615.

Bekkers, R., & Van Teunenbroek, C. (2020). Generatieverschillen in geefgedrag. In R. Bekkers, T. N. M. Schuyt, & B. M. Gouwenberg (Eds.), Geven in Nederland 2020: Huishoudens, nalatenschappen, fondsen, bedrijven, goede doelenloterijen en vrijwilligers (pp. 52-86): Lenthe Publishers.

Bekkers, R., & Van Teunenbroek, C. (2022). Dynamiek in geefgedrag van huishoudens In R. Bekkers, B. M. Gouwenberg, S. Koolen-Maas, & T. N. M. Schuyt (Eds.), Geven in Nederland 2022: Maatschappelijke betrokkenheid in kaart gebracht (pp. 36-60): Amsterdam University press.

Blewitt, J. M., Parsons, A., & Shane, J. M. (2018). Service learning as a high-impact practice: Integrating business communication skills to benefit others. Journal of Education for Business93(8), 412-419.

Body, A., & Hogg, E. (2019). What mattered ten years on? Young people’s reflections on their involvement with a charitable youth participation project. Journal of Youth Studies, 22(2), 171-186.

Body, A., Lau, E., & Josephidou, J. (2020). Engaging children in meaningful charity: Opening‐up the spaces within which children learn to give. Children & Society, 34(3), 189-203.

Feldman, D., Nixon, J., Brady, J., Brainer-Banker, L., & Wheeler, L. (2013). The 2013 Millennial Impact report. Tech Rep. West Palm Beach Fla. Arch.

Gorczyca, M., & Hartman, R. L. (2017). The new face of philanthropy: The role of intrinsic motivation in millennials’ attitudes and intent to donate to charitable organizations. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 29(4), 415-433.

Kandaurova, M., & Lee, S. H. M. (2019). The effects of Virtual Reality (VR) on charitable giving: The role of empathy, guilt, responsibility, and social exclusion. Journal of Business Research, 100, 571-580.

Koczanski, P., & Rosen, H. S. (2019). Are millennials really particularly selfish? Preliminary evidence from a cross-sectional sample in the philanthropy panel study. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(14), 1965-1982.

Nelson, K. M., Anggraini, E., & Schlüter, A. (2020). Virtual Reality as a tool for environmental conservation and fundraising. PloS one, 15(4), e0223631.

Van Teunenbroek, C., & Hasanefendic, S. (2022). Researching the crowd: Implications on philanthropic crowdfunding and donor characteristics during a pandemic. Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing, in print.

[1] It is a common misconception that the term ‘philanthropist’ refers to an elite donor with a high net worth (i.e. major donors). This, major donors, is not the focus of this special issue.

[2] The positive feeling after donating see Andreoni (2006)