Charities must use multichannel to appeal to young people

Charities must use multichannel fundraising methods to give young people reasons to believe in causes if they are to avoid the “fundraising crisis” forecast by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Charities Aid Foundation report
Charities Aid Foundation report

The CAF report claims that more than half of all donations now come from the over-60s, compared with a third of donations 30 years ago. This is creating a “time bomb” for charities who face a “long term crisis of giving” because new generations are failing to match the generosity of people born in the inter-war years, the CAF report added.

While digital tools are an obvious way to engage with younger people, charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and Samaritans believe that they are not the only way to encourage donations from people under 30.

Samaritans director of fundraising and communications Rachel Kirby-Rider told Marketing Week that as young people are under more financial strain than ever before, it can be difficult to encourage younger donors to sign up to traditional ways of giving. It has introduced fundraising methods such as digital fundraising, text donations, payroll giving and DIY fundraising events meet the needs of under 30s.

Digital platforms are not the only way to engage with younger supporters though, she added, saying that volunteering and campaigning opportunities are just as important ways to securing life-long support.

She says: “In order to sustain our young donors for the duration of their giving lifetime, we need to encourage them to believe in the cause. Supporter fundraising is often about giving donors the opportunity to engage with the organisation they donate to. We mustn’t forget that young donors will want to get involved with the cause by volunteering or campaigning and this can be equally as important as financial support.”

Macmillan Cancer Support director of external Affairs Hilary Cross, says that Macmillan is finding ways it can take it’s message to potential donors and “be where they are” rather than waiting for young donors to seek them out, whether it’s online or through community events or initiatives such as its recent partnership with Boots that give it more visibility on the high street.

While Macmillan’s fundraising has held up during the economic downturn, she agrees that there is a generational “time bomb” which is why the charity “constantly” looks at its fundraising and events portfolio to make sure it has events that appeal to different audiences whether its fundraising campaigns, digital marketing or schools programmes.

“We have to offer the things that make people want to get involved. We need to present ourselves as a compelling cause that young people want to support and get involved with. I don’t think there’s a finite pot [of possible funds] and people are generous if they feel your cause is worth it, spends its money well and can be trusted,” she says.

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