How selfie campaigns fuelled Gen Y's charitable giving

Social media selfie campaigns such as #nomakeupselfie and #IceBucketChallenge have had the effect of boosting charities' appeal to young people.

Cancer Research UK: The charity's #SmokeThis selfie campaign reached out to young people
Cancer Research UK: The charity's #SmokeThis selfie campaign reached out to young people

According to a study by researchers Mintel, 16- to 24-year-olds donated an average of £40 in the three months to July 2014. In comparison, over the same period those aged 35 to 54 had the lowest average (£33), while donors over 55 were the most generous, giving an average of £52.

The support that charities have built on social media provides the perfect environment for selfie-esque campaigns to flourish. Out of those aged 16 to 24, the research found that almost a quarter (23%) have "liked" a charity’s page, compared to an overall average of 13%.

The nomination aspect of these campaigns appears to have the effect of "guilt tripping" young participants into donating. The study found that 23% of 16- to 24-year-olds said they felt guilty if they did not donate when asked, in comparison to an average of 12%.

However, of those that donated last year, 31% claimed to have been motivated to donate to charity not out of guilt but because it made them feel good.

The research also revealed that one in five (19%) donated to feel like they were a part of a community, while 15% said they wanted to set an example to others.

Mintel also found that younger givers were more likely to have donated via their mobile phones, with 14% using the method over 2014, compared to an overall average of 8%.

Ina Mitskavets, senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: "Charitable giving has been given a new life with the emergence of selfie fundraising on social networks, appealing to younger donors who have traditionally less actively engaged with charitable causes."

Mitskavets warned that charities, in the future, could not rely on "steady contributions from reliable donors doing so out of habit" and urged them to "work harder to understand how to connect with potential donors from younger generations".

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