Rapid population growth and migration are dramatically changing societies and ecosystems worldwide and as this future unfolds nonprofits, NGOs, and charities will play a central role in safeguarding the world’s most vulnerable communities, the land upon which they live, and the wildlife that surrounds them. As the social conscience of of globalization, the nonprofit sector needs to contemplate future challenges and adjust their programs accordingly – and to inspire the next generation to tackle these challenges, nonprofits to also understand global shifts in how Gen Z uses technology.
1) The world population will reach 9.8 billion in 2050, up 31% from an estimated 7.5 billion now.
Nonprofits, NGOs, and charities worldwide will be instrumental in managing and protecting the Earth’s resources. In the near future, nearly 10 billion humans will be in need of food and clean water, health services, education, and shelter. Social good organizations will also be needed to apply pressure on institutions to prioritize diplomacy, human rights, to act on climate change, and to protect the world’s remaining biodiversity. Must-Read: WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016
2) Gen Z (born 1998 and after) currently makes up 27% of the global population and could surpass Millennials in size as early as 2018.
The majority of Gen Z resides in developing countries where NGOs are going to be essential to ensure this rising generation has access to education, employment, and family planning resources.
3) People aged 60 and older make up 12.3% of the global population, and by 2050, that number will rise to almost 22%.
While NGOs worldwide will need to meet the needs of a surging youth population, simultaneously NGOs will be called upon to help serve the world’s elderly citizens. Humans are living longer and economic inequality (low-pay, increased employment competition, limited access to health care, minimal retirement savings, etc.) will strain our global economy. The good news is that global philanthropy is on the rise, but the challenges are great and NGOs will play a critical role in continuing to inspire the global community to give and volunteer.
Source: United Nations Population Fund
4) China currently has the highest population in the world, however, by 2050 India will be the most populated country at 1,676 million (compared to China’s 1,387 million).
In the coming decades as wealth rises in Asia, so will philanthropy and with it a second wave of online activism and giving. In India alone, it is estimated there are 1-2 million NGOs in operation of which the vast majority have no online presence, but in the next decade Indian NGOs will join the digital revolution by the hundreds of thousands.
Source: 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report
5) Africa’s population will more than double to 2.6 billion by 2050.
Social good organizations will be crucial in advancing economic development throughout Africa to ensure its rising population has a better life than the generations before. Also, to save Africa’s iconic wildlife from extinction, NGOs will be instrumental in conserving land and defeating wildlife crime.
Source: Rothschild’s Giraffe Project
6) By 2018 more than half the world will have access to the Internet and by 2020 global internet users are expected to reach 4.2 billion.
First-time access the mobile internet is exploding across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East and in Europe, North America, and Australia, the mobile web has surpassed desktop. NGOs that do not prioritize mobile technology and become early adopters of mobile payments in the coming years will struggle to remain relevant.
7) Gen Z is a mobile-first, multi-device population.
For NGOs to successfully inform and motivate Gen Z to take action, they must embrace a mobile-first, multi-device strategy and as the Internet of Things evolves over the next decade, the definition of “devices” will expand to include screens on everything from digital billboards to smart cars.
Source: Global Web Index
8) Messaging apps have 20% more monthly active users than social networks.
A messaging app revolution is happening throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. In developed nations texting and calling is relatively low-cost and offered through your cellular provider, but in countries where texting and calling is expensive to utilize, messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE have been widely adopted. NGOs in developing nations are leading the messaging app revolution while NGOs in North America, Europe, and Australia are far behind on the adoption curve.
Source: Business Insider
9) The white population in the United States will become a minority by 2044.
In the United States, by 2020 over half of Gen Z will be born into a minority race. Social good organizations will be at the forefront of racial and economic justice and Gen Z will be the most diverse generation ever known. The nonprofit sector in the United States has a significant race (and gender) gap that it needs to confront and change. Furthermore, to effectively fundraise nonprofits need to better understand how race affects giving preferences and habits. Must-Read: Diversity in Giving Report
Source: United States Census Bureau
10) Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and by 2050 the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians.
Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion, mostly because Muslims are younger and have more children than any other religious group globally (Pew Research Center). NGOs outside of predominantly Muslim countries need to better understand the Muslim faith community and consider expanding their holiday fundraising campaigns to include Muslim holidays – giving to charity increases significantly during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
Source: Pew Research Center
11) 45% of donors give to nonprofits, NGOs, and charities located outside of their country of residence.
Online giving technology – combined with access to a 24/7 global news cycle and more affordable international travel – has led to an increase in donors with an empathetic worldview.
Source: 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report
12) By the mid-1990s English made up 80% of web content. Today, out of roughly 6,000 languages in use, ten languages make up 82% of the content on the Internet.
For NGOs to effectively communicate worldwide, they will need a multi-language online communications and fundraising strategy. Otherwise, social good organizations risk getting stuck in internet holes defined by language barriers.