Saturday, 22 September 2012

Give Generation Y a Chance

Charity press this week was agog with the results of a study by CAF led by researchers from the University of Bristol  which raises fears for the future of fundraising.

The study reports that more than half of all donations nw come from over-60s, compared to just over one third of donations 30 years ago. And the over-60s are twice as likely to give to charity than the under-30s. 

Interesting - yes.  But I'm not sure that I agree with CAF's recommendations, one of which is to ensuring young people grow up giving by making giving part of the national curriculum.  The measures CAF recommends seem to suggest that young people aren't giving because they aren't in the habit of philanthropy or that they aren't involved in charities.

I just don't believe that that is true. 

By the age of 2 my daughter and her peers were already involved in community fundraising activities through their nursery. Before she started school she had taken part in more charity events than my octogenarian father probably has in his whole life time.  Within two weeks of starting school she had already participated in a fundraising event. Giving doesn't need to be on the curriculum - it's part of every day life in schools and it was even in my day.

I don't believe under-30s aren't philanthropic. And I don't believe they are unaware. I do believe they are facing a very different experience of being under-30 than their retired relatives faced.  House prices are astronomical, university fees are high and job opportunities are limited.  

To my mind we don't need to address people's philanthropic instincts, they exist.  We as fundraisers need to horizon scan and identify the changes in society and in the economy which will impact on giving - and adapt our strategies accordingly.

We should be asking ourselves on a regular basis - does this still work?  What should be doing differently?  

I'm not saying it's not a good idea to involve young people in charity work, of course it is.  And moreover, I think they already are.

What I'm saying is that perhaps we should change our expectations of how people should give to more accurately reflect the reality of their circumstances.  Give Generation Y a chance.



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