News & Updates

Wise Giving Wednesday: Donor Trust Report – A Closer Look at Generational Differences

Nov 7, 2018

As the mid-term elections were held yesterday, most of us will be scrutinizing results by the time this is posted. One election factor that has been mentioned in media numerous times is the spotlight on the volume of younger voters. Just as there are generational differences in voting participation, our research has shown there are generational differences in how people trust charities. This blog will be the first in a series that will take a closer look at the Donor Trust Report that was released by BBB Wise Giving Alliance on October 25th.

Factors Impacting Donor Perception of Trust. The Donors Trust Report shows that different factors impact trust vary among the generations.  While 56% matures (ages 72-89) recognize the value of third-party evaluations of charities, such as the charity reports produced by BBB Wise Giving Alliance and BBBs, younger generations tend to lean more heavily on other considerations. Specifically, 46% of Generation Z (ages 18-19) believe that the perceived passion and/or sincerity of the solicitation was their strongest trust indicator followed by appealing stories, 37%.

Most Trusted Charity Types. Generations also differed in the types of charities they trusted most. About 45% of Matures highly trusted religious organizations, while only 29% of Millennials (ages 20-36) felt the same way.  In contrast, Millennials and Generation Z highly trusted environmental groups (24% and 22%) and international relief charities (25% and 24%) far more than Matures (9% and 9%).

Is Verifying Trust Difficult?  Matures were more skeptical, 49% believed it was difficult to verify trust in charities. However, only 38% of Millennials and 33% of Generation Z felt it was difficult. This result coupled with the generational trust triggers differences referenced above could lead younger donors into faulty giving decisions.

To find out more about generational differences in donor trust, access the full report: Donor Trust Report.

Podcast on the Donor Trust Report

We are pleased to provide access to a BBB podcast that provides highlights of the Donor Trust Report. It features an interview with two member of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance staff: Elvia Castro, Manager, Regional Charity Reporting and Bennett Weiner, Chief Operating Officer.

Donor Trust Podcast

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. 

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance