Why are more young people donating?

  • The World Giving Index provides an annual snapshot of global trends in volunteering and donating money
  • Britain has risen in the global rankings in the latest Index, with a notable increase in the number of people volunteering their time to support charities
  • With the number of young people donating money also rising, we consider what the key findings from the survey could mean for your organisation

These are challenging times for the charitable sector.

Government austerity measures are making people more reliant on the services charities provide, and yet at the same time, the methods charities use to raise the funds they desperately need are under more scrutiny than ever.

The Charities Aid Foundation’s latest World Giving Index, however, might provide some crumbs of comfort. So, what are its key findings and what could they mean for charities in the UK?

UK volunteering on the increase

The Index is an annual survey, which uses the results of questionnaires conducted in 145 countries, to rank nations in terms of the percentage of people who donate money, volunteer their time, and help strangers.

In the 2015 index, Britain rose from seventh place to sixth in the global rankings. More significant, says Pam Webb, head of the Zurich Community Trust, is that while globally the percentage of people volunteering has dropped, in the UK it has increased from 29% in 2014 to 32% in 2015.

She says: “This is encouraging and, I hope, a sign that people are waking up to the fact that the donation of time and skills can be as valuable as money.”

Austerity an obstacle to volunteering

We previously discussed the challenge of matching up willing volunteers with organisations most in need of help, and the shortage of brokerage schemes focussed on this objective.

Webb says some progress is being made in this area, although it is hindered by funding cuts to local authorities.

She says: “An overall national project, being led by the Cabinet Office, is looking to encourage an increase in the level of skill-share from the private sector to the voluntary sector, and the need for suitable brokerage is a focus of this.

“There is some work going on to study the best practice of brokerage schemes, with a view to creating a template for replication, but funding of these local brokerages will always be a challenge in times of austerity.

“While central government is grappling with the dilemma and the need for more local brokerage on the ground, local government is, by necessity, cutting the very funding supporting those that already exist.”

Increase in young donors

While austerity remains a challenge, charities may take comfort from another finding from the 2015 World Giving Index – an increase in the percentage of younger people donating money.

Among Europeans aged 15-29, the percentage donating has risen by 10% since the Index was first published in 2010.

Webb says: “This doesn’t surprise me and I would expect this trend to be heavily based on the growing use of social media and the many different ways to donate these days, whether it’s via online giving sites or via text message. It has been good more recently to see the likes of Facebook using their promotional and convening power for the greater good.”