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Young People and Generosity
Finance for Congregations, Fundraising for Congregations

Did you know?

  • Young people, newborns through age 22, represent a $1 trillion market to sellers in the American marketplace, through their own direct spending and influence over family purchases.
  • Young people under age 20 spend five times more (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than their parents did at the same age.
  • Consumer product companies spend over $230 billion annually ($2,190 per household) on marketing, much of it directed at children and teens.
  • In a 2002 survey, high school seniors answered correctly only 50 percent of the questions on income, money management, saving, investing, spending and credit. In other words, they failed a quiz on financial literacy.
  • Fifty-three percent of children have their own television in their room. More than one-fourth of those age two to four have their own television.
  • Children and youth, age 8 to 21 spend approximately $175 billion a year of their own money.
  • They spend approximately 17 hours a week online and spend $22 billion online.
  • A 1997 study showed children age six to twelve spent more than two and a half hours a week shopping, a full hour more than in 1981. They spent as much time shopping as reading or going to church, and five times as much as they spend going outside.
  • More children go shopping each week (52%) than read (42%), go to church (26%), play outdoors (17%), or spend time in household conversations (32%).

Promoting the Development of Generosity in Young People

Studies of giving and serving among youth and adults identify several consistent themes. How can your congregation create or encourage opportunities for young people to experience generosity through their use of time and money? Consider the following prompts and list or describe such an activity or opportunity that could be provided in your congregational setting.

  • Experiencing the generosity of others and/or receiving care from parents and other significant adults.
  • Spending time in settings (home, church, school) where caring and generosity are invited and expected.
  • Being guided by religious beliefs and values that encourage care, compassion, and generosity.
  • Interaction with mentors and role models who both practice and teach generosity.
  • Having concrete opportunities and a personal invitation to participate in giving and service activities.
  • Experiencing their faith community as an active life-shaping and transformational place to be involved.
  • Connections with people from diverse backgrounds and identities who can share a unique awareness of the complexities of the world.
  • Experiences to develop self confidence and belief in one’s own capacity to make a positive difference in the world.

Adapted by Laurel Amabile, Director of the Annual Program Fund, Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Stewardship and Development, July 2008. Resource: Growing Up Generous: Engaging Youth in Giving and Serving by Eugene Roehlkepartain, Elanah Dalyah, and Laura Musegades, Alban Institute, 2000.

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