The over 65s are twice as likely to set up a direct debit online to a charity, compared to 18-24-year olds, while millennials are more likely to engage in one-off volunteering opportunities, according to research for Reason Digital into online charity donors.
Reason Digital commissioned Populus to analyse online support for charities and examine the digital behaviour of different age demographics.
The survey of 2,086 UK adults (18+) showed that most over 65s also tend to have donated to a fundraiser online or through a charity representative on the street. And, while many millennials are heavy online users, they also enjoy the social aspect of holding fundraising events and are more likely to engage in one-off volunteering opportunities.
According to the research, Facebook and Twitter are the most influential for inspiring charity engagement amongst the public. Interacting with a charity on Facebook or Twitter is 50% more likely among online donors, while one in four people say they have interacted with a charity via Facebook in the last year.
However, when asked which cause they are most passionate about, 15% of 65-year olds stated they weren’t ‘passionate about any causes’ despite being offered over 25 options.
Enthusiasm for causes varies according to age. Gen Y is four times more likely to be influenced by a cause they have seen online, compared to older people. The research uncovered that the two causes Gen Y are motivated by are mental health and climate change. Mental health support is four times more popular for 18 -24-year olds, than older people and climate change is the most important cause among 20% of this age group.
Matt Haworth, co-founder of Reason Digital, said:
“Our research has led us to a number of recommendations we feel the sector needs to act on. Digital marketing should consider a much wider audience as 4.48 billion people are now online across the world. Charities should ensure their comms aren’t leaving people behind. Baby boomers are very much active online and currently more generous than young people.
“We would encourage fundraisers to expand their digital skills in preparation for when the crossover between online and offline donations happens. Charities could also consider whether offline fundraising products can be translated to online and even focus on which services could work digitally – the potential this could create in reaching more people in need is huge.
“Charities should strive to emphasise their environmental and positive mental health credentials to motivate a younger audience as these are the causes they are most passionate about. These challenges and opportunities should not dissuade us from embracing digital. They should be the signal that our sector is needed more than ever to bring balance, compassion, and assistance to people in the ways that they now communicate with each other and interact with the organisations that serve them.”
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