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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Charities must embrace technology to attract young donors

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Charities must become more tech-savvy if they want to encourage donations from young adults, a report has shown.

Research from YouGov for the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) found charities were seen as being “behind the curve” in their use of technology and risked missing out on the support of a generation as a result.

The report, titled Appetite for Donation, found people aged 18-34 had a “huge desire” to support good causes but were significantly less likely to give than those in older generations.

Better apps, online and contactless donation options and more consistent use of social media were all recommended as ways to build engagement with 18-34 year-olds.

Susan Pinkney, CAF’s head of research, said: “Young people in the UK tend to be very socially conscious and have a real appetite for supporting good causes. But this potential is not being fulfilled.

“To close this generational gap in giving, charities need to make it easier for young people to give.

“Today’s young adults have grown up accustomed to being able to run their social life, pay their bills, do their shopping and book their holidays from a mobile phone.

“But charities have been slow off the mark. There is a real shortage of opportunities for people to use everyday technology to support good causes.”

charities need to make it easier for young people to give

According to the study, fewer than one in ten people have donated to charity using an app. In contrast, more than half of 18-to-34-year-olds had used an app for their banking.

One in three young adults told researchers they would donate through an app if the technology was available, while 39% said they would like an app to show how their money was being spent and 31% would like to be able to search for charities dealing with particular issues.

With younger adults carrying less cash than those in older generations, charities were also advised to adopt contactless payments, with 35% of those surveyed saying they would donate this way if the option was available.

Researchers also recommended charities make better use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The report found fewer than half of those who interact with charities online go on to make a donation, stating “there is clearly potential for charities to do more to turn clicks into donations”.

Ms Pinkney concluded: “If they are to avoid being left behind, charities need to fully embrace new technology to ensure that they are speaking to younger people on their own terms and inspiring them to embark on a lifetime of charitable giving.”

The report did uncover some positive news for charities. One in three young adults were found to have made an ad-hoc donation online, compared to one in six people over 65.

And schemes such as the small change initiative, which allows shoppers to round up the cost of their purchases with the excess going to good causes, had been used by 29% of under-35s and were generally seen in a positive light.

Researchers surveyed 2000 British adults for the survey, the full results of which can be accessed via the YouGov website.



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