Gen Z motivated to volunteer by cost-of-living crisis, survey suggests

25 Aug 2023 News

By HBS / adobe

The cost-of-living crisis has made more young people want to volunteer, according to a new survey.

Most Gen Z respondents (52%) to a report by Censuswide said that the cost-of-living crisis made them want to volunteer, the most of any age group and compared to 21% of those aged over 55.

A higher proportion of Gen Z respondents (born after 1997) also reported that the Covid-19 pandemic and global warming had made them want to volunteer.

Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said it has seen an increase in young volunteers at its shops, with most new recruits belonging to Gen Z.

Flexibility key for younger volunteers

Overall, the survey, to which 2,001 people responded, found that over nine in 10 Gen Z respondents would consider volunteering, compared with three-quarters of people aged 59 and over.
Flexibility stood out as a key factor for Gen Z when it comes to volunteering, with 37% stating they would be more likely to volunteer if flexible hours were offered, and around a quarter would consider volunteering from home.

Some 42% of young respondents felt volunteering would benefit them by boosting their confidence.

Meanwhile, for 30% of all respondents, the biggest barrier to volunteering in a charity shop was not having time to commit to it regularly. 

Most new BHF volunteers are Gen Z

From April to June, BHF recruited over 3,000 volunteers to its charity shops, most of whom are Gen Z.

Sarah Boardman, retail volunteering operations manager at BHF, which has 16,000 volunteers overall, said: “Since the pandemic, it’s been great to see consistently high numbers of young people choose to try out volunteering.

“The flexibility we offer makes it ideal for those looking to gain work experience and build confidence before applying for jobs or heading to university.
“Our easy, flexible, and inclusive approach aims to make volunteering more accessible for all. We encourage everyone to bring their skills to the BHF, whether it’s for one day or 100.”

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