Charities should target Generation Y instead of relying on traditional fundraising, says Polly Gowers

A report by the charitable shopping platform Give as you Live, founded by Gowers, says that many people born between 1981 and 1996 actively dislike methods such as street fundraising and TV advertising

Polly Gowers,  founder of Give as you Live
Polly Gowers, founder of Give as you Live

Charities should refocus their fundraising efforts on "Generation Y" rather than continuing to invest in traditional forms of communication and campaigning, according to a report by the charitable shopping platform Give as you Live.

The report, Generation Y and their Charity Giving Habits, was produced in collaboration with the web psychologist Nathalie Nahai and launched yesterday at the Institute of Fundraising’s national convention in London.

It argues that Generation Y – which consists of people born between 1981 and 1996 – are the age group that is most likely to increase their donations in the next 12 months.

This means that charities should stop investing so much in traditional fundraising methods such as street fundraising, and newspaper and television adverts, because 69 per cent of this generation actively dislike these methods.

Instead they should work on targeting a generation of smartphone owners and social media users, who are currently the smallest cohort of charitable givers. The report says this is a "pressing" need, because 83 per cent of charities do not have a mobile strategy.

To do this, says the report, charities should shift their campaigns to appeal more consistently to the concepts of "pleasure, festivity and efficiency" rather than guilt and duty. It says they should also run more social media campaigns – getting volunteers from Generation Y to assist if possible.

Speaking at the convention, Give as you Live founder Polly Gowers, who commissioned the report, said: "For Generation Y, you need content you can share. No matter what budget you’ve got, content is the key. Bear in mind that the very people you’re trying to reach can also solve the challenges you’re trying to address."

She said this group was the future of fundraising. "They’re waiting for you to ask them for your help," she said. "You just have to work out how to do that and go and ask them for it."

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