Build skills and CV development into volunteering to attract young people, YouGov says

18 to 24-year-olds represent major hub of 'untapped potential', with more than half interested in volunteering opportunities, YouGov's Ben Glanville tells Third Sector's Charity Leaders' Forum

(Photograph: Getty Images)
(Photograph: Getty Images)

Charities that want to attract young volunteers should emphasise the opportunities for work experience, skills building and CV development to bring them on board, according to the polling company YouGov.

Ben Glanville, head of research, UK and growth markets at the polling company YouGov, told delegates at Third Sector’s Charity Leaders’ Forum yesterday that young people were generally more likely to volunteer time than give financial donations to charity, but they ultimately valued opportunities that would develop their skills and CVs over supporting a community or specific cause.

Figures shared exclusively with delegates revealed that almost half (46 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they volunteered over the past year to gain work experience and improve their CVs, compared with 11 per cent of overall volunteers.

Almost a third of young people (32 per cent) said they wanted to learn new skills, compared with 14 per cent of overall volunteers.

More than half (51 per cent) said they would volunteer to support charitable causes, but the demographic was less motivated by this than were overall volunteers (57 per cent).

"Many 18 to 24-year-olds are likely to volunteer because it’s fun, but there’s additionally a life-skills narrative taking place here," said Glanville.

"If you talk about the benefits of volunteering, lots of them will say it relates to work experience, confidence and new skills. Fun is important to young people, but it’s important to couch these opportunities with CV building, new skills and confidence development."

The data highlighted the untapped potential for volunteers among this demographic, with more than half (51 per cent) of 18 to 24 year-olds saying they were either "fairly" or "very" interested in volunteering with charities in the next 12 months, compared with 31 per cent of all adults.

"It’s important not to discount people who haven’t been giving money or volunteering in these age groups," Granville said. "They are definitely open to it."

The findings support those of Third Sector’s report Donating Trends in the UK 2019, which revealed that 33 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 24 had volunteered for charities in the previous six months, but charitable giving among this demographic fell from 80 per cent to 73 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Although highly altruistic in their approach to charities, they are more likely to want to volunteer time than money because they often cannot afford financial contributions, researchers found.

The Charities Aid Foundation’s report UK Giving 2019 showed an overall decline in donations for the third year running, with just under half (46 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds donating to charities in the previous year, compared with 57 per cent of the overall population.

However, a YouGov white paper called What Motivates Charitable Giving, published today, shines a more positive light on the state of donations. It points out that, although almost three in 10 (29 per cent) of UK non-givers said they simply could not afford it, this did not preclude them from future giving.

A fifth of non-donors as a whole (20 per cent) said they were likely to donate in the future.

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