A poll by the Charities Aid Foundation reveals that over five million young people would consider becoming a charity trustee.
The survey by polling and research consultancy ComRes – commissioned by CAF for Trustees’ Week, which starts today – questioned 1,005 people in the 18 to 35-year age bracket last month.
It found that when weighted to be representative of all UK adults aged 18 to 35, more than five million were open to the idea of becoming a trustee.
Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) believe that giving more young people a seat on the board would help charities better engage with their demographic. A similar number, 74 per cent, think that helping run a charity would enable them to make a difference in society.
Sixty-six per cent said that young people would be able to relate more to charities if more trustees were of a similar age to them.
The Charity Commission revealed in its September report, A Breath of Fresh Air: young people as charity trustees, that out of a total of over 810,000 trustees in England and Wales, just 4,200 are aged 18 to 24, a mere 0.5 per cent.
Trustees' Week runs from 5 to 11 November, organised by the Charity Commission in association with organisations such as NCVO, CFG and Governance magazine. It is aiming to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved as charity trustees.
Paul Rees, executive director at CAF, said of the survey findings: “A lot of people might assume that young people would not be interested in getting involved in running a charity at board level. Our poll explodes that myth; there are in fact millions of young people who are ready and willing to help charities.
“Young people have a fantastic amount to bring to charities and a massive enthusiasm for getting involved, but only a very small minority are represented on charity boards of trustees.
“Our poll shows that nearly half of young people would consider becoming a charity trustee when told what being a trustee involves. That shows there is huge potential for charities to work with younger generations to enhance their work."
In September, CAF released research indicating that an age-gap exists in charity giving, with people in their sixties six times more generous than those under 30.
The study was, however, criticised in some quarters, and others have offered up alternatives theories to the phenomenon of low charity engagement by the young.