An interesting report produced by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (Indiana University) has discovered that parents play an important role in encouraging their children to give to charities, echoing the findings of recent research carried out by CAF, which investigated ways of growing the number of people who support charities across Britain.
The research found that parents who take the time to talk to their children about charities increase the likelihood that their child will give by 20 per cent. This comes shortly after CAF’s report, produced for the recent party conference season, found that people whose family members give to charity were also more likely to give themselves.
The impact of interacting with young people about charities at a young age can have is extremely interesting, and chimes with the evidence received by the Parliamentary Inquiry on Growing Giving, which looks at the ways that people of different ages are able to engage with good causes. A study carried out for the inquiry asked young people about their views on charity, and found that most young people are incredibly charitably minded, but need help to turn their support for charities into positive action.
The Lilly School report findings echo this conclusion, with nearly nine out of ten children aged 8-19 stating that they give to charity. Interestingly, the report found little differences between the genders, with boys and girls expressing a similar propensity to give, although the report did find that girls are more likely than boys to volunteer. That coincides with CAF’s research, which found the young girls were much more likely to work for a charity when they are older than their male counterparts.
It’s interesting to note that the report also found out that eight out of ten respondents have parents who give to charity, but the report argues that the most effective way to encourage younger people to give is by holding a conversation with them about charitable giving, as opposed to actively encouraging them to give to charities. Of course, it might not come as a huge surprise to those with children that telling them to do something isn’t always the most effective way of changing their behaviour!
In fact, that finding echoes a discussion heard last month at an oral evidence session held by the Parliamentary Inquiry on Growing Giving, where the panel were told that they key to getting young people interested in charities is by connecting with them at an early age, through schools and universities. Instead of ‘pushing’ their children, it was suggested that parents should use their position as role models to demonstrate the value that charitable giving can have for beneficiaries of charities, and reinforce the message that giving can make you feel good.
Earlier in the year the inquiry looked specifically at the way that young people can be encouraged to engage with good causes, and the evidence received from a number of young people highlighted just how much charitable potential exists. The challenge for policy makers is to make it easier for young people to get involved with volunteering and giving, and charities themselves also have an important role to play by making sure that they have opportunities which are relevant and exciting to people of different ages.
Over the next few months we’ll be suggesting ways to get more people of all different ages involved with charitable giving, but in the meantime donors should be encouraged to talk about their charitable giving with their friends and family, and see if they can inspire them into giving.