Charitable giving being transformed by younger donors, digital payments

Younger donors say they give more, while digital fundraising gives good return on investment.

James Hayes | 1st May 18
Image of charity tin and laptop representing digital charitable donations trends

Younger people report that they make more charitable donations than the over 55s – challenging the views that the older generation support good causes most.

According to the Future of Giving survey from Barclays, donors aged 35-to-54 say they gave an average of £265 last year to charities, followed by £246 from under-35s. Donors over 55 gave £168.

Despite this statistic, the research revealed that 60% of good causes polled in the survey still regard the over-50s age range as ‘their focal age group for donations’.

As younger people’s spending power grows – and with 57% of under 35s saying they are more likely to donate today than they were three years ago – the study suggests that charities could do more to target milennials. Some 55% of younger people say they are more likely to donate than they were three years ago, further underlining the potential importance of this donor demographic.

The survey, based on interviews with more than 300 large charities and over 2,000 individuals, reveals the societal and digital trends, and shifting technology-usage habits, likely to transform the sector.

It also found that out of the charities that have invested in digital solutions to make donating easier only 10% report that their investments in technology have not repaid themselves within a year of going live.

Some 70% of charities polled see online fundraising as ‘the way forward’, and 50% of all charities are actively exploring investment in ‘new ways’ for their supporters to donate. However, younger people are still more likely to have donated offline than online over the past year, by a margin of 38% to 31%.

Most charities have also seen the online share of their income rise since 2015, and most expect the trend to continue. Some, however, anticipate a ‘struggle’ to maintain online donations after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this month.

A significant number of charities polled have invested in new digital methods of fundraising over the past 12 months. Many of these initiatives are ‘designed to make it easier for people to donate’ – from upgraded websites and PayPal links to partnerships with third-party platforms, such as JustGiving and Apple Pay.

Of those who invested, almost 90% reckon that they have ‘already seen payback’ for their investments.