3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

Young fundraisers are waiting to breathe new life into charities and the wider voluntary sector

: Dominic Cotton

…says Dominic Cotton, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the #iwill campaign.

According to a national survey that we’ve carried annually for the last two years fundraising is the most common form of ‘social action’ among young people. 43% of the 10-20 year-olds we spoke to, who took part in practical action that helped others, said they did this through raising money.  

#iwill campaign research also confirms that the appetite among 10-20 year-olds to make a difference, greatly exceeds the opportunities available for them to do so. This mismatch can mean only one thing – that we are missing a trick by not creating new ways for young people to use their passion and energy to raise money for causes they care about.  

And this is just part of the story. Fundraising is often a great entry point into a world of wider volunteering. Among the 100 #iwill Ambassadors (social action champions aged between 10 and 20) we’ve celebrated so far, many have gone from participating in things like Children In Need or Comic Relief at school, to becoming more committed supporters of particular campaigns or causes. The thrill of ‘selling’ something you care about can clearly be very exciting as you realise, perhaps for the first time, that you have the power to make a positive difference to the lives of others.  

So young fundraisers can often move along the supporter journey from ad-hoc activity to become long-term charity champions, with organisations like vInspired helping them on their way. 

At the same time, according to research carried out by #iwill partners from the Behavioural Insights Team, young people also develop a range of really valuable skills and character strengths through participation in activities that support their communities. Empathy, resilience, problem-solving, team-working and communications skills are all enhanced through involvement in social action. 

This evidence is supported by many employers, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), who’s Director General Carolyn Fairbairn says, ‘There is little doubt that taking part in social action can help young people develop the kinds of 21st century skills that the businesses we represent say they’re looking for in new recruits.’ Taking practical action in the service of others from an early age has a real double benefit – to beneficiaries AND young people themselves. 

All this suggests that the voluntary sector would benefit from doing more to engage the younger generation in social action and that fundraising is the perfect place to start. 

For more information about the #iwill campaign visit or follow @iwill_campaign on Twitter. You can watch a short film that summarises the benefits of social action here

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