Debate: Does the decline in younger people's giving signal a long-term crisis?

Research by the Charities Aid Foundation found that people under 30 did not match the generosity of the over-60s

Donations from young people have fallen
Donations from young people have fallen

Peter Lewis, chief executive, Institute of FundraisingPeter Lewis, chief executive, Institute of Fundraising

Playing a 'generation game' over giving is not helpful. There are difficulties, not necessarily with the data, but with the way it is spun - terms such as "crisis in giving" do not reflect reality. Charities that invest in fundraising know that younger and older people continue to be generous, but often give in different ways.

Fundraising charities know they must understand demographic and social changes on the one hand and their supporters and potential supporters on the other, and need to craft their approaches in the appropriate way.

Rob Cope, director, Remember A CharityRob Cope, director, Remember A Charity

Long-term giving is positive for charities that invest in legacies now. Sadly, too many are focused on the short term. House prices will bounce back, increasing residual values. Annual death rates will rise as the boomers die off, generating more charitable wills. But for younger people, the story is less clear: one in five is currently not working; lack of assets and increased education and care costs might create a more challenging outlook.

The answer is simple: normalise legacy giving among all ages. That's why we need to invest now, before it's too late.

Toby Ganley, head of policy, Public Fundraising Regulatory AssociationToby Ganley, head of policy, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

Charities always face a potential long-term giving 'crisis' because they never know if income streams delivered by particular methods will dry up. Will charitable bequests continue to fall if the recession continues? Face-to-face fundraising is great at recruiting donors in their 20s, but that might not always be the case. The sector has been distracted by 'nudging' people to give. CAF's findings suggest this approach isn't working. The key to getting more young people to give more - as it is to getting anyone to give - is to ask them directly.

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