More on who gets involved in causes

by admin on September 29, 2011



We stated earlier this week that older individuals and Baby Boomers were the most involved in causes (I consider them the gold standard of causes due to their income and political clout). Several of you asked for additional demographics as to who supports causes.

The data below again comes from Marketing Charts, one of the best sources available for statistical and web-related information.

Not covered here is the dominance of women as consumers of social media (upcoming article) and Hispanic reliance on Twitter as a means of communicating (previous article).

We now have a better idea as to who supports causes and how they communicate via social media. Obviously, they are nothing more than generalizations and causes will have the support of different demographics and means of communication depending on the topic.


Best, Len.


Gen Y Engages in Social Change

Large percentages of Gen Y adults age 18-34 have engaged a variety of activities to promote positive social change in the last 12 months, according to [pdf] a study from Walden University and Harris Interactive released in September 2011. Results from the “Social Change Impact Report” indicate 81% of Gen Y adults have donated money, goods or services.

In addition, 70% of Gen Y adults have educated others about a cause or issue, and 68% have participated in volunteer work or service. Other social change activities in which more than half of Gen Y adults have participated during the last 12 months include signing an online or written petition (60%), fundraising for a cause (56%), and expressing an opinion on a positive social change issue by posting a comment on a blog or other website (52%).

8 in 10 Adults Say Digital Tech Makes Connecting Easier

About eight in 10 adults across all generations (82%) agree that digital technology has made it easier for them to connect with others who are interested in the same causes or issues that they are. Adults believe that digital technology makes it easier to accomplish a variety of activities integral to positive social change, particularly following news and events related to positive social change (79%) and increasing awareness about a positive social change issue or need (77%).

Interestingly, the notion that digital technology makes it easier to accomplish a variety of social change activities is not driven by younger, arguably more “tech savvy” adults, but by older generations. Baby Boomers and Matures are significantly more likely than Gen Y and Gen X to believe digital technology makes it easier to follow news and events related to social change, give direct help to those in need and make a positive change in local areas.

8 in 10 Adults Say Digital Tech Makes Social Change Involvement Easier

Eight in 10 adults also agree that thanks to digital technology, people are getting involved in positive social change issues faster and more frequently than ever before, and this belief is even stronger among the older generations (Matures: 85%; Baby Boomers: 86%; Gen X: 84%; Gen Y: 80%).

Study data shows sizable numbers of Americans have engaged in social change through digital means, such as expressing an opinion on a social change issue on a blog or website (36%; 49%; 47%; 52% ); joining or creating a group on a social networking site that was dedicated to an issue (30%; 35%; 43%; 49%); or texting to make donations, vote, organize a demonstration, etc. (36%; 33%; 37%; 35%).

Other Findings

  • Overall, 92% of US adults have taken at least one action to promote positive social change in the past year.
  • Three in four (77%) say it is important for them to be personally involved in social change.
  • Education is the social change issue the largest percentages of adults say is most important now (40%) and will be most important in five to 10 years (63%).

Georgetown: Minorities More Involved w/Causes

More than half of African-Americans and Hispanics are involved with causes, according to a June 2011 study based on data collected in late 2010 by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Results of “Dynamics of Cause Engagement” indicate 53% of African-Americans and 52% of Hispanics, but only 42% of Caucasians, are very or somewhat involved with a cause. Thus both African-Americans and Hispanics engage with causes at a rate about 25% higher than Caucasians. Overall, 45% of Americans are very or somewhat involved with a cause.

About the Data: Harris Interactive conducted a national survey online within the US of 2,148 U.S. adults (age 18 and older) between March 16 and March 24, 2011. The study was commissioned by Walden University.


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