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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities need to do more to engage with young people

This news post is about 6 years old

Research has shown that young people want to know more about the charities they are supporting

Young people want to know more about charities before they are prepared to part with their cash.

New research by banking giant Barclays has shown that people under 35 are more likely to donate to charity, but want to know more about the organisations they are supporting.

Earlier this year, a survey by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) found that young people’s general trust in charities has dropped.

The findings of both surveys have sparked calls for charities to examine how they interact with young people.

The Barclays study saw over 2,000 people questioned across the UK and showed that people aged 35 to 54 gave an average of £265 last year to charities, followed by £246 from under-35s. In comparison, over 55s who gave £168.

Yet the research, which also includes a poll of 301 large charities, revealed that six in ten good causes still regard the over 50s as their focal age group for donations. As younger people’s spending power grows, and with 57% of under 35s saying they are more likely to donate today than they were three years ago, the study suggests that charities could boost their coffers by targeting millennials.

The Future of Giving also reveals that lack of money is the main barrier to supporting a charity (53% of respondents), followed by lack of knowledge about how donations are used (37%), too many charities to choose from (34%) and a lack of trust in charities (32%).

David McHattie, head of charities at Barclays Corporate Banking, said that charities have to do more to ensure they nurture supporters.

“Fast moving shifts in technology and consumer behaviour create significant opportunities for charities, however, to continue to thrive, the third sector must continue to adapt,” he said.

“Nurturing loyal givers, while finding further ways to attract new support are critical. Investing in new innovations, whether online, on street, or in store, will ensure that important causes continue to benefit from changing donation demographics and preferences.”

SCVO launched its I Love Charity campaign earlier this year after a study revealed that public trust in charities in Scotland fell by nine percentage points over the last two years.

The telephone survey of more than 1,000 Scots, conducted by Ipsos MORI as part of the Scottish Public Opinion Monitor in December 2017, also revealed that the number of young people who agreed charities are trustworthy fell from 85% in 2015 to 73% in 2017.

Those aged between 16 and 24 were also the only age group to report a drop in trust for charities they have a personal connection with – in 2017 60% gave a score of 8/10 for the amount they trusted organisations they were familiar with, compared to 68% in 2015.

And there was a swing in charity trust amongst youngsters. In 2015, 35% said their trust had increased, but this dropped to 15% in 2017, with 41% saying their trust had decreased.

SCVO director of public affairs John Downie said: “Trust in Scottish charities is still generally high, however it is important that the support of the public is retained.

“Young people often have different relationships with charities to other age groups and we need to recognise that and respond, or risk losing their support altogether.”

The organisation recently held a summit with representatives from youth organisations to discuss the findings of the study, and how supporting young people can be integrated into the campaign.

Downie added: “As part of our I Love Charity campaign we met recently with representatives from youth organisations as we aim to identify what young people’s thoughts are and how we further engage them with the sector.

“Young people are potential future campaigners, volunteers, board members and donors for the sector. The sector needs to assess what it does, or can do, to help them feel empowered and enabled.”