More than 5m young people would consider joining charity boards says poll

Written by Andrew Holt

Over five million young people would consider becoming a charity trustee and nearly three quarters (73%) believe that giving more young people a seat on the board would help charities better engage with young people, according to a new poll.

The ComRes survey, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations, found nearly three quarters of 18-35 year olds (74%) believe that helping run a charity would enable them to make a difference in society.

And two thirds (66%) say that young people would be able to relate more to charities if charities had more young people as trustees.

The poll of 1,005 18-35 year olds was carried out to mark the start of national Trustees Week on Monday (November 5) which aims to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved as charity trustees.

Researchers found that more than a third of young people (36%) would consider becoming a trustee - equivalent to 5,194,000 young people across Britain. But when it was explained to them what being a charity trustee involves, the number of people who said they would consider trusteeship rose substantially to nearly half (49%) of all young people.

Trustees form the governing body or board of a charity and have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the business of a charity.

CAF published research in September showing that charities face a potential generation gap in giving, with more than half of all donations coming from the over-60s, compared to just over one third of donations 30 years ago.

The over-60s are now more than twice as likely to give to charity as the under 30s.

The full report is available at:

CAF is calling for Government and charities to work together to engage young people in charities and address the under-representation of young people on trustees boards in order to harness the skills and passions of the next generation and close the potential generation gap in giving.

The survey found:

49% of people 18-35 year olds said they would consider becoming a charity trustee after it was explained what this would involve – equivalent to 7m people across the UK.

74% believe that helping run a charity would enable them to make a difference in society.

73% believe that getting more young people on charity trustee boards would help charities to better engage with young people.

66% believe that young people would be able to relate more to charities if charities had more young people as trustees.

63% believe that more young people should be involved in charity decision making.

57% believe that “if I spent some time as a charity trustee now, I would be more likely to support charities in the future”.

64% believe that having an experience of being a charity trustee would improve their career prospects.

Paul Rees, executive director at CAF, said: “A lot of people might assume that young people would not be interested in getting involved in running a charity at board level. Our poll explodes that myth; there are in fact millions of young people who are ready and willing to help charities.

“Young people have a fantastic amount to bring to charities and a massive enthusiasm for getting involved, but only a very small minority are represented on charity boards of trustees.

“Charities are always keen to harness the enthusiasm and ideas of young people so they can build support across the generations and carry on their vital work into the future. Our poll show nearly half of young people would consider becoming a charity trustee when told what being a trustee involves. That shows there is huge potential for charities to work with younger generations to enhance their work.

“Being a charity trustee is immensely rewarding and a fantastic way of developing high level business skills, improving your CV and enhancing job prospects which is why we are calling on charities and young people to get together."

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