an overview of the charity landscape
tribes give more generously and carefully to charities
Since the last UK Tribes charity report in 2014, notable differences can be seen in young people’s views and attitudes towards charities, where they show a strong awareness of how the sector operates and make considered choices. One of the most prominent values of 16 to 24-year-olds is their genuine desire to make a difference; from donating to Macmillan, running half marathons for local charities, sponsoring friends and colleagues, hosting cake sales to knitting hats for Age UK. Through collective and active participation, Tribes believe that charities have an important role to play in helping those in need.
“I have heard of some dodgy on goings with some charities, and apparently not all of the money raised is going to the needed cause, but it hasn’t put me off donating to any charities, because if everyone stopped donating to all charities because of some awful people with no conscience, then even more people would be in need” – 17, Leading Edge, VOD:Bingers
“I try and get involved with any sporting charity events as I possibly can, and am actually staging one myself on 12th June; a 24 hour treadmill event! The two charities I try to support are Prostate Cancer UK and Mind. This is because they are both very close to my heart, for reasons which relate closely to the work they do. I feel compelled to donate when I see someone doing an act that is inherently meant for others to benefit. For example, a superhuman effort of courage and determination is something that really impresses me, and something I am hoping to replicate with my abovementioned challenge.” Male, 19, Leading Edge, POP:Socials
giving is contagious; Tribes are more likely to give within a social setting through gentle encouragement
Tribes value experiences and derive a great sense of satisfaction from more active forms of participation that tap into their need for affiliation and belonging. The act of giving becomes a social act where friends, family and colleagues influence and motivate each other to give back to a cause that is generally done in the context of schools and work settings. Individual contributions can go a long way, hence donations through fundraisers being a popular mode of charitable giving.
“Probably about a year ago, a group of us at school ran a fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust. It ended with a lot of people being more aware and a lot of people being healthier — we did runs and all sorts!” – Female, 17, Mainstream, Pop:Socials
“I’m not normally involved in fundraising, to be honest it’s not something I really think about. However next week our sixth form is planning on doing the Race For Life to raise money for cancer research since our head of sixth form unfortunately got diagnosed earlier this year.” – 17
tribes derive a greater sense of satisfaction from active participation that is fun, creative and a memorable experience
The more fun and creative Tribes can be in the process of their donation, the more memorable and positive experience they have, leaving Tribes with a good impression of the charity. Charities that use ‘guilt trip tactics ’ or communications that are antiquated can fail to capture Tribes’ attention. For example, young adults will sometimes question a charity’s motive to help people in third world countries when using communications along the lines of ‘save people in Africa’. They are more inclined to donate when they are inspired by a story that feels authentic e.g. Celebrity British Bake Off, which compelled a few Tribes to donate towards Stand Up 2 Cancer after they saw inspirational clips.
“I am not keen on charity that supports colonialist/missionary attitudes of needing to ‘save’ people in Africa – that’s to do with advertising. I don’t like it when charities are filling a gap that should be the work of the government though I recognise sometimes it’s needed – public pressure for systemic change may have more effect.” – Female, 16
“The last time I felt compelled to fundraise for a charity was when we had an assembly at school about the Rwanda Sisterhood association as they showed us how the work they do impacts the mothers in Rwanda and I found it inspiring and it made me go out and build my own mama pack!” – Female, 16
examples of how tribes have given back
Donating hair to e.g. Little Princess Trust
•Buying Christmas cards made by e.g. RSPCA
•Creating packs/providing items in need for e.g. Rwanda Sisterhood Association
•Making digital/cash donations to e.g. Children in Need
•Hosting/partaking in fundraisers e.g. fun-runs, bake sales
“I also donated my hair to the little princess trust last month. 17 inches chopped off my hair! I find it a little awkward to fundraise as I have bad social anxiety.” – Female, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
“I don’t tend to fundraise, I do buy the RSPCA Christmas cards however as they are always adorable and I think they’re from a good cause.” – Female, 20, Alternative, Short:Snaps
“The last times I felt compelled to donate for a charity was I watched The Great Celebrity Bake off SU2C and you had the SU2C clips at the end. It made me donate.” – Female, 20
“I like donating to charities that I feel really support the UK and the people or children within it. For example I support the RNLI and Children in Need where I can believe they do an outstanding job of supporting people and spending the donated money right here in the UK.” Male, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
recent scandals in the charity sector have made tribes more inquisitive
In recent times, a number of scandals have appeared in mainstream media and damaged the reputation of notable charities such as Oxfam and Red Cross. Some Tribes have become disillusioned with charities who are felt to have abused the public’s goodwill, and as a result generated a lack of trust in the charity sector. Tribes feel deterred by emotive charity advertising where tactics used to shock or guilt-trip prove to be ineffective and instil a feeling of helplessness rather than a call-for-action. However, this does not stop Tribes from giving back; it compels them to do more research so they can make informed decisions. In a recent survey conducted by the Charity Commission with a sample of 2000 people, they found over half of young people said that they usually do checks on a charity before donating to them, compared with just 29% of over 75s (The Charity Commission, Dec 2017).
“However, the main problem with big charities is that the employees can be paid too much and that there are discrepancies, since they have become global. To me, sometimes the charities seem to be an industry rather than a way to help people.” – Female, 17
“I always do my research around the charity and ensure my money will be put to good use.” – Female, 17
“I’ve become a bit disillusioned with charities recently. I don’t believe they make the most of the money donated to them. I am much more likely to support smaller, local charities that I can see are actively doing something.” – Female, 23, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
tribes are more likely to give towards a cause they can personally identify with
There is a greater preference to give back to local charities and give back towards a cause Tribes feel an affinity with e.g. one of our Tribes lost both his parents to cancer and continues to support Cancer Research as a result. Their collective community consciousness means that Tribes enjoy helping out their local communities and issues that are of a wider concern; they want to see where their money is going and how it is being spent. A minority of Tribes commented on the importance of donations and public support being used to transform public spaces and communities within their area. They’re aware that a proportion of funds go towards charity staff salaries and administration costs, but feel that local level support and volunteering plays an equally important role where results are more tangible.
“Whilst all charities do amazing things, I think it’s important to start small. Help the community. Whether this be using food banks or renovating the children’s ward of the local hospital.” – Female, 17
“I don’t often fundraise but I do other things to help charity. I volunteer with a local charity trying to restore a local landmark.” – Female, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
“Whenever we do anything for charity, it is usually for a local charity called Kirkwood Hospice. The are located a 5 minute walk from my house and they provide care for elderly people and those with terminal illnesses.” – 17, Leading Edge, VOD:Bingers
“My involvement varies a lot. I have done some bigger fundraising in the past – e.g. running a half marathon for cancer research. At the moment the main things I do are sponsoring friends and colleagues and participating in our work charity events. I’ve become a bit disillusioned with charities recently. I don’t believe they make the most of the money donated to them. I am much more likely to support smaller, local charities that I can see are actively doing something. I usually get involved when the fundraiser is something interesting or fun for me, for example knitting hats for Innocent smoothies, a fundraiser sports day, or being part of a charity concert.” – Female, 23, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
what does this mean for charities moving forward?
- Keep the messaging and overall tone positive and clear; Tribes are sensitive to different types of communication and want to see messages that make them feel inspired and empowered to give back.
- Leverage Tribes’ herd behaviour; explore ways to strengthen charitable group donations that allow Tribes to showcase their identity and demonstrate their values among peers
- Be transparent; most Tribes will check how their funds and donations are being used regardless of a charity’s reputation. Clearly communicate the percentage of proceeds and the outcome of their donation
- Provide a memorable experience; the more fun and creative the mode of giving then the more appeal it has. Tribes are willing to invest their time and energy in a cause that engages them and leaves a lasting, memorable impression