Influencing Young America to Act

Special COVID-19 research released today on young Americans and their actions during the pandemic. What does this mean for the corporate citizenship and nonprofit sectors?
Influencing Young America to Act

The Cause & Social Influence initiative delivers insights on how the public is moved to action for social change. Today they released results from the third of a four-part research series that tracks young Americans’ (ages 18 – 30) actions related to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

While an incredibly interesting read in order to better understand their actions, we’re uplifting these results to share three key findings:

  1. Supporting local business continues to be the number-one and most meaningful way young Americans helped others during the pandemic.

Low financial charitable giving among this demographic continues however, supporting local businesses is the primary way they are choosing to support others during this global health crisis. Young Americans are just not donating as a way to help others.

  1. Young Americans are turning back to influencers for news on COVID-19.

Earlier research showed that young Americans were tuning in to traditional media as their primary news source and turning away from celebrities and content creators. Local governments most influenced whether they took action to stop the spread of the virus. As the pandemic continues, they are now reverting back to influencers for information related to COVID-19.

  1. Young Americans are not comfortable performing activities in public, including volunteering and attending events for causes.

Most important for our sector is their thoughts on the return to in-person volunteering and attending events in support of social causes. Right now, young Americans primarily are uncomfortable with public activities. Going to work and seeing a doctor are the most acceptable, while individuals are least comfortable with taking public transit (66%) and seeing a movie in a theater (60%). Nearly half (49%) are uncomfortable attending a cause’s special event in person, with another quarter (27%) only somewhat comfortable. Similarly, 48% are uncomfortable volunteering in person for a cause or issue, with another 27% only somewhat comfortable. Respondents anticipate their level of comfort in volunteering and attending events growing slightly by June 15.


In another 30 days, the Cause & Social Influence initiative will conduct the last in this four-part research series, which will provide new results on young Americans’ actions and opinions – especially as most of the country reopens.

To download the earlier reports along with these May results, visit the Cause & Social Influence initiative’s website.