Research: Young People and Charity – A Paper

Here's the latest from Josh. The 'Young Adults & Charity' research project is now complete, and you can read all about his findings here.

By Reason Digital · September 14, 2015

An Insight into the Charitable Giving of Young Adults & Students

Firstly – thank you to the 425 people who took part in our survey – what a great response rate!

We stopped accepting responses shortly after my previous blog was published, and since then we’ve been analysing the data and have written a research paper on our findings.

Our paper is called “An Insight Into Charitable Giving Among Young Adults & Students”, and it studies the trends we observed in the survey, and what this could mean for the future of charities. When writing the paper, I thought it seemed intuitive to split the paper into six sections, with four of those representing different sections of the survey itself.

After the foreword, the first section of the paper tries to build an image of who donates, what they donate, and who they donate to. Here we look at things such as attitudes to charity, which charity sectors respondents find most important, and what sort of charitable behaviours people engage in.

Next, we look at whether – and how – being a student further affects charitable patterns. In the survey, we asked students a different subset of questions, which required them to reflect on their financial situation. In the paper, we use the data from these questions to consider whether this creates a disillusionment with charity or a change in attitude about the role they play in society.

Following this, the paper gauges the extent to which people feel connected with charities online. It was clear from our survey that young adults use social media a great deal (91% said they use it regularly), so we analysed this alongside charity-oriented variables. We found that young adults are most likely to get involved with charities online when their friends do too.

The paper concludes by measuring the generosity of respondents (or, at least, a proxy for charitable behaviour). We asked respondents to imagine finding £100 in their coat pocket, and then ask how much they would typically donate to charity. Our respondents then had the opportunity to enter into a £50 prize draw and, for those that chose to do so, donate as much of this sum to charity as they wanted if they won. We used these two questions to see how charitable people perceive themselves to be, then how charitable they actually are when presented with the possibility of real money. Good news – it turns out that the majority of people were more generous in practice than they thought they would be! And even better news, the winner of the prize draw kindly donated £25 to Dementia UK.

If you’re interested in how young adults view and interact with charity, or you’re a charity looking to connect with younger audience, feel free to take a look at our research paper!

*On a personal note:

Thanks for following my research over the summer, and if you took part in the survey. This research paper wouldn’t have been possible without your input.

The paper represents the culmination of my work here at Reason Digital. Over my time here, I (with some superb mentoring) have studied existing research in this field and worked to produce something equally as informative that tells something new.

Thank you to Reason Digital for such a special experience, and making me feel at home for the past two months.

My placement has been working towards publishing this paper, so I hope it helps and brings you joy in whatever capacity you use it.