Funding story: The Funding Network

The organisation's new network for young people was launched at a bar in London's Brick Lane in June.

The Funding Network, which brings together people who want to effect social change through giving, has set up a group for young people: YTFN, which stands for Youth - The Funding Network.

The Funding Network offers a way to give relatively small amounts of money to selected groups in a structured way that maximises the financial benefits. Until now, it has been directed more towards slightly older - and better-off - people.

"People under 25 might not be earning as much, but they do have high amounts of disposable income," says 25-year-old Matt Keppel, who is on the steering group of YTFN. "They live a fast-paced life, they have cash and they also have a far deeper social conscience than might be expected. That's an opportunity that is often disregarded."

Emily Hydes, a 28-year-old fundraising consultant, says: "A lot of people will make a £5 direct debit, but if you aren't used to philanthropy it's very hard to make an investment. The Funding Network forum itself is so successful in engaging people that we wanted to take some of that learning and apply it to young people."

The new group is open to anyone under 30. Events are pitched in a slightly different way from those run by the main Funding Network. The financial demands on members are less great, there are some structured volunteering opportunities and the social element is very youth-oriented.

The launch event was held in Cafe 1001 in London's Brick Lane in June and raised more than £6,000. "We were pretty amazed," says Keppel, who hosted the event. "There was such an air of anticipation. Everyone was excited and it was also very social. Now that we've proved the format works, we're looking at different spins to put on it. I think we're just starting to tap into this market."

Hydes adds: "Young people are in the headlines for violent crime every day. We are bombarded with negative images of ourselves. This forum can turn that stereotype around. We're no longer the objects of pity; we're empowered and we're giving. That's a fundamental shift."

The first official event is planned for 8 October (see www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk).

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