Giving by direct debit 'will die out'

Direct debit giving could be a thing of the past for the next generation of donors, delegates at this week's International Fundraising Congress will be told.

Donors of the future will give through internet applications and by buying items that interest them, such as T-shirts or CDs, rather than by dropping money in collection tins or setting up direct debits, Paul Sikkema, strategic director of Dutch market research firm The ComBat Group, will say.

"Today's kids are the adults of the future, so it is important that fundraisers learn about them and target these groups correctly," he told Third Sector ahead of the event. "It's important that charities communicate with kids and youngsters in the same way those groups communicate with each other - through digital media and mobile phones."

Charities should encourage donors to engage with them by asking questions using blogs and allowing them to influence and evaluate charities' activities, Sikkema said.

Fundraisers should also approach young audiences in a more positive way and reconsider the use of heart-wringing letters asking for donations, he added. "They are interested in the results, so be a positive organisation that is proud of what you are doing, not crying about what is going wrong in the world."

Young people under 12 can also be reached by education and projects that help them become responsible citizens, Sikkema said, an approach that makes them more likely to donate when they are older.

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