Fears for charities as young put brake on giving

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BRITAIN is facing a long-term “crisis of giving” because younger generations are not donating as much to charity as their parents and grandparents, according to a report.

Over-60s have for many years donated more to charity than under-30s, but yesterday’s study for the Charities Aid Foundation found that the gap has widened “sharply” over the past 30 years.

The report raised concern that this will mean a shortfall for charities, threatening the services they provide, when the inter-war and baby-boom generations pass away and members of the so-called Generation X (born between 1965 and 1981) and Generation Y (1982-99) reach retirement.

In 1980, 29 per cent of over-60s gave to charity, against 23 per cent of under-30s, the report by Professor Sarah Smith of Bristol University found.

But 30 years later, the number of over-60s who said they had given to charity in the previous fortnight had risen to 32 per cent, compared to just 16 per cent of under-30s.

The CAF called for action to ensure that young people think about giving.

Young people should be encouraged to take work experience and volunteer for charities, including by becoming trustees, said the Foundation.

Giving should be a part of the national curriculum and there should be reform to payroll donations to create a stronger culture of workplace giving.

The CAF called for the creation of a national online Gift Aid registration scheme, as well as the introduction of US-style “living legacies” helping people to give to charity during their lifetimes rather than in their wills.

CAF chief executive John Low said: “The generosity of Britain’s older generation continues to be remarkable – and many charities today depend heavily on their support. “The worrying fact is that people from Generation X and Generation Y are simply not giving to the same extent.

“We fear that charities will face a damaging donation deficit when people of the older generations pass away. That would severely hit the funding of charities, and their ability to deliver vital services on which so many people rely.”

Tom Latchford, chief executive of charity-focused online marketing specialist Raising IT, said: “The problem is that charities are struggling to relate to the young people of today and are failing to approach them through the correct channels.

“The kids of today are found on social media sites and in no end of digital environments. To get your message to this market and to fund-raise effectively within it, charities need to update their marketing strategies.”