Young women aged between 17 and 19 who are from privileged backgrounds are more likely to support charities than other young people, but charities must work hard to engage them before they hit their 20s, a new report claims.
The finding is part of the Youth Engagement Monitor, a biannual report published by voluntary sector think tank nfpSynergy. The research tracks how young people aged between 11 and 25 feel about charities, how they campaign and how they raise funds.
"AB females aged 17 to 19 lose their keenness to support charities - by fundraising, campaigning or donating - as they get older," said Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy. "We think there is a brief receptive window of opportunity to engage them. If charities can capture their interest - for example, by creating a youth brand such as Salvation Army's ALOVE - they could become supporters for life".
But Tony Breslin, chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation, sounded a note of caution. "Affluent kids are often more likely to respond to charity appeals, which is great," he said. "But if charities target only this group, they could miss out on engaging with young people across the social spectrum."
The report also suggests that young people are most interested in charities that achieve results. Almost half of those questioned claimed to be interested in charities that they believe to be "effective", and fewer than one in 10 said their ideal charity would be "cool".
Once they've chosen their cause, significantly more young people enjoy raising money, campaigning or volunteering rather than donating money.
Thirty-six per cent rated fundraising as "enjoyable", 19 per cent enjoyed campaigning and 35 per cent enjoyed volunteering. Only 11 per cent enjoyed donating cash.
"Young people are used to choices, whether it be a choice of ringtones or on supermarket shelves," said Saxton. "Charities need to offer the same choice of ways to allow young people to engage, whether it be social activism, fundraising events or volunteering."
63% of young women aged 11 to 25 have donated to charity in the past three months; 51% of young men
20% of young people in the AB socio-economic group have volunteered in the past three months, compared with 10% in the DE grouping
19% of young women say they are involved with charities regularly, compared with 11% of young men.