The next generation of British adults is driving the future of charitable donations through an increasing emphasis on technology, according to an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of 1,000 consumers.
The study, carried out by Redshift Research on behalf of Accenture and in conjunction with the charity Action for Children, looked at the role technology plays in charitable giving, particularly among younger generations. It found that one in three young people say technology has had an impact on the amount of money they have donated to charity over the past five years. Twenty per cent of respondents aged 18-24 donate more money as a result of technology, while 54 per cent of this age group said the introduction of services like text message donation and online giving has encouraged them to donate spontaneously. Almost one in three respondents (30 per cent) say they now donate to charities they wouldn’t previously have considered.
Technology is having such a significant impact on donation trends for young people that a third of respondents (34 per cent) admitted that the absence of the option to donate online or via text donations means they will give their money to another charity. A further 30 per cent also said that failure to supply a way of digital donation would mean they would forget about the cause and not donate at all.
Accenture commissioned the study as part of the company’s commitment to Byte Night, the IT industry’s annual fundraising event on behalf of Action for Children. Byte Night is an evening where IT and other business professionals are sponsored to spend a night ‘sleeping out’ and exposed to the elements.
Steve Nunn, global infrastructure lead and senior executive at Accenture UK, commented on the findings of the UK study: “What we are seeing is a generation of people who epitomise the changing consumer, growing up with mobile phones and the internet as their main form of communication and their key information resource.
“For these changing consumers technology clearly plays a central role in all aspects of the lives, including the way in which they engage with charities and the third sector – largely because it provides an instant and direct route to donations.”
Indeed, the importance of ease of access was highlighted by the study’s findings: 59 per cent of respondents to the study said a clear and easy route to donating was an important factor in determining which charity they donate to. This is a higher figure than the number who quoted the importance of loyalty in influencing donation decisions.
Further findings from the research highlighted the way in which social media influences engagement with charities. More than a third (35 per cent) of young people said they prefer to use Facebook and Twitter to follow and interact with the causes they care about, demonstrating the awareness and fundraising opportunities that these platforms offer charities.
Emilia Carman, Head of High Value Fundraising at Action for Children said: “It’s clear that technology is steering the course of charity today, and digital giving – especially for the emerging digital generation – means charities need to embrace new channels that best suit their audiences. For Action for Children, the support of the IT community through Byte Night has meant that we’ve been able to introduce services like text to donate earlier than most. The success of these services has been phenomenal; in more ways than one, technology is at the heart of social change.”
Byte Night 2011 will take place in London, the Thames Valley, Cambridge and Edinburgh on Friday, October 7. For more information, and to book your place, go to byte night website
About the Author: Neil Cary is the director of Redshift Research, a leading consumer market research company.