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Charities ignore younger age groups at their peril

Charities ignore younger age groups at their peril

Charities should focus on a broader demographic instead of concentrating their efforts on the over 55s, according to research by REaD Group.

REaD Group’s Consumer Trend Report 2015: Direct Marketing from the Charity Sector shows that while ‘Dorothy Donor’ has been over-targeted, younger age groups are still happy to receive charity communications yet are too often overlooked.

While 59 per cent of people aged 55 and over thought they were contacted too frequently by charities, this drops to 40 per cent of 18-54 year olds, according to the research. The findings also indicated that a large proportion of 18-54 year olds may welcome charity communications with 84 per cent stating that they had charitable preferences and just 33 per cent saying they would be more likely to sign up to a charity if they could choose the frequency at which they are contacted.

Overall, 51 per cent of respondents said that more control would make no difference to whether they signed up to charity mailing lists and a further 18 per cent said it would make them less likely to join.

Personal relevance was the biggest driver for donating with 48 per cent citing this as having the most influence, followed by locality. Loyalty to the cause is also important, with 27 per cent saying that having contributed to a charity for a long time would be a reason to continue donating.

The report also asked people which causes they supported most. The most popular overall was medical research with 40 per cent of respondents stating that they preferred to donate to related causes, followed by children at 37 per cent and health at 35 per cent. Religion, arts and sports causes garnered the least support with sport receiving backing by only 3 per cent of those surveyed.

Channel preference also influences how welcome charity communications are, according to the findings, with direct mail the most popular choice. While 60 per cent of those surveyed said that mobile communications would never be welcome, this dropped to 43 per cent for social media, 30 per cent for email, and 24 per cent for direct mail.

Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO of REaD Group said:

“The good news is that the research shows that the vast majority of the population are happy to receive requests for donations. Surely the time has come for charities to embrace other segments. If you only ever target the recent donors or fixed groups such as female over 55, you are creating a self fulfilling model that will eventually reach saturation and by definition ignores the rest of the population.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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