Polling day is now just one week away, and the duration and intensity of the election campaign is beginning to take its toll on politicians, activists, and even those with just a passing interest. With manifestos already published the emphasis is now very much on message dissemination, and events and speeches across the country are being used to reach out to swing voters and try and attract wavering voters from other parties.
As a result, this means that there hasn’t been a great deal of ‘new’ material being put in front of the electorate in the past week, and the sense that parties have already turned their attention to post-election negotiations has intensified – expect to hear a lot more talk about ‘red-lines.’ Despite the lull in the campaign we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy – although not everything has been directly linked to politics this week. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
It wasn’t on any election grid, but last week saw the unlikely emergence of the #milifandom and #cameronettes online fan clubs. These social media users have been promoting the virtues of both Ed Miliband and David Cameron, but many of those taking part are actually too young to vote, so need to find another way to make a difference. We pointed out that getting involved with volunteering or campaigning can be an extremely effective way for young people to get their voice heard, and that young people are increasingly likely to see charities and social enterprises as the most effective agents for social change.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has become a renowned institution in the political environment, with their probing of budgets and economic policies often leading to tough questions for politicians, and their analysis and assessment of party manifestos was no different. We responded by warning that charities are already struggling with the pressures of squeezed finances and a rise in demand for services, and called for the next government to collaborate with charities to strengthen our civil society.
Over the course of the election campaign all major parties have promised to take action to get more young people engaged in giving and social action. It’s really important that those who give their time can get recognition for their efforts, following a recommendation from the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry, we worked with UCAS and a range of education and social action charities to amend UCAS guidance. Now, people applying to university and college will be given information about how they can demonstrate the skills they get from social action to boost their application, as well as advice about opportunities to get involved. Our new UCAS guidance page is now up and running – you can take a look here.
Last Sunday saw thousands of runners take to the streets of London for the Marathon. Demonstrating just how effective the London Marathon is in raising money for charity, we released figures showing that it raises as much money for good causes as the Boston, Tokyo, Chicago and New York marathons combined. The 2014 London Marathon raised £53 million for good causes, and follows Comic Relief as the second largest single-day fundraising event in the UK.
The publication of The Sunday Times Rich List included the Giving List, which looks at how some of the richest people in the UK support good causes. The Giving List is a joint collaboration between The Sunday Times and CAF, and this year was topped by Lord David Sainsbury and his family for the second successive year. You can find out more about the Giving List and who else features on it here.
Earlier this week, HSBC released a report focusing on the growing trend for people to redistribute savings during their lifetime. The Baby Boomer generation will be entering retirement healthier and wealthier than previous generations. Even though older people already do a great deal to support good causes, we can encourage them to do more. We called for the government to work with charities to increase engagement opportunities for older people, through the creation of a Post Careers Advice Service, providing greater information about pension giving, the promotion of legacies, and the introduction of Living Legacies. These ideas were all proposed by the cross-party Growing Giving Inquiry and would help increase giving amongst older people.
Finally, a reminder that you can keep up-to-date with all of our election activity here.
Tonight will see the party leaders take part in the last ‘debate’ (in this instance a series of one-on-one Question Time-style interviews) and then it’s back to the campaign trail for the last few days. With the polls still incredibly tight, picking the result is anyone’s guess – but that hasn’t stopped us trying. Want to join us and find out how you see the composition of the House of Commons after the election? Take a shot using the excellent Electoral Calculus website and see what your predictions would mean!