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Youth unemployment figures will not deter IoF from encouraging young donors

Peter Lewis, CEO, Institute of Fundraising
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Youth unemployment figures will not deter IoF from encouraging young donors2

Fundraising | Niki May Young | 12 Oct 2011

Institute of Fundraising members have elected for the body to focus on educating young people about donating, despite statistics released today which show the highest-ever youth unemployment figures.

Research conducted for the Institute by nfpSynergy attracted 274 responses from Institute members who gave their opinions on what the organisation should focus on over the coming year. 

Members said the body's top three priorities should be educating young people about donating, keeping cheques and increasing legacy giving.

But the announcement comes as the Office of National Statistics released its latest Labour Market Statistics report, which showed that unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds had reached 21.3 per cent at 991,000 between June and August 2011, the highest rates ever recorded. 

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute, said tapping into the younger market may well be a new focus for the Institute, but told civilsociety.co.uk that the unemployment rates need not be a barrier to the organisation's efforts to increase donations from the youth market.

"Our members have seen a movement away from traditional giving patterns and methods and we are looking to explore new ways to give by a more digitally-literate generation. 

"We're seeing a more cash-poor/time-rich society and there's a necessity to see how that works. Donating doesn't have to be about giving money, it can be about giving expertise and time," he said. 

Cheques and legacies

While a focus on youth is new territory for the Institute, members' further requests show that the Institute is "already on track", said Lewis, as a focus on legacies and cheques falls in line with the Institute's current campaigns.

The Institute's 'save our cheque' campaign has been fundamental to a successful government lobby which has so far seen the Treasury Select Committee scold the Payments Council for attempting to abolish the payment method, although the campaign to save cheques continues.

Legacies have shown a mixture of increase and decline over the past year. While figures released by the Legacy Market Monitor in August showed overall legacy income dropped for the second consecutive quarter, the Institute's own figures released earlier this week showed that local charities are experiencing "exceptional growth" in legacies. Legacies are currently worth £1.98bn to the sector. 

 

 

Mike Wade
Director of Fundraising and Communications
NDCS
12 Oct 2011

I remember many years ago carrying out research into the motivations of donors giving £1m+ at a major UK charity. Overwhelmingly, their engagement with the charity began via Blue Peter appeals whilst they were still at school. It was only when I thought about it that I realised that I STILL had the Sponsored Walk certificate sent to me by Help the Aged (as was) at the age of about 8. Maybe it is just coincidence that a scarily long time later I am a Trustee of their sister charity HelpAge International.

Maybe? Maybe not. Engage children now, and I believe you have the potential to shape a lifetime of engagement from the adults of the future.

Karen England
Director of Fundraising
Make-A-Wish UK
12 Oct 2011

I welcome the drive to educate young people about donating but let's not take too narrow a view on donating. In my experience, young people do loads of fundraising - it's just that it's less likely to be in the areas that many charities deem as important. Schools, youth groups, sports clubs, universities are full of young people fundraising in fun and innovative ways; runs and challenges are another popular way young people get involved. Often time-rich but cash-poor, the can be vigorous campaigners and volunteers. Grab their imagination and they can be a most potent force of support! So let's take a wide look at young people's engagement with fundraising and look at ways of increasing it even further.

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