Are young Chinese indifferent to charity?

The recently published “Tencent Sustainable Social Value Report” found that donors in China tend to be aged 35 to 45, with a relatively small proportion of young people donating.


Often associated with promoting equality and human well-being, charity has become embedded in people’s lives. Donating for disaster relief and epidemic management has become a habit for many people. However, on a daily basis, the general public seems to distance itself from charity, with young people seeming somewhat indifferent.


Unlike traditional charity, online charity is convenient and fun, making people more enthusiastic about it. In China, more than 10 billion people follow, click on, and participate in various online charity activities annually. 


WeChat, China’s most downloaded app, offers a wide variety of online charitable programs, saving organizations from spending on promotion and publicity. For example, the “Love Meal” program enables users to help improve street cleaners’ lives by donating something as small and simple as a warm meal. Donors can get instant feedback on when the meal is delivered and what is included in it, offering encouragement and incentives for people to participate daily. 


For most people, getting donation feedback on WeChat is far more direct and personalized than reading through a financial report on foundation websites. The trust generated by instant and open feedback retains the enthusiasm toward charity and makes changes happen via daily activities. 


“The traditional form of fundraising cements the act of doing a good deed, which appears to be inadequate in the current stage of charity development,” Ge Yan, the president of Tencent Foundation said. “When exploring ways to attract more people into charitable causes, we want to make it a habit for everyone, help people integrate charitable actions into their daily activities and offer instant incentives.”


Besides promoting charitable programs such as “Love Meal” on social media, Tencent has also expanded charity work to the domain of online gaming. “Arena of Valor”, possibly the most popular smartphone game in mainland China, launched a new function for users which enables them to collect points in the game and donate them to support the development of rural agriculture. With a user base of 160 million people and most of them around 20 years old, the game’s potential engagement is beyond imagination. 


These practices have greatly extended the concept of donations and offer insight into the future of charities. It is obvious that young people are not indifferent to charitable causes but simply need to be brought closer to charity.