Growing Giving Inquiry: Our Two Year Review

It’s now two years since the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry produced a series of recommendations designed to secure the future of charitable giving in the UK. To mark the occasion, we take a quick look back at what the Inquiry was, and what activity has taken place since to try and introduce the recommendations…

CAF initiated the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry in 2013, in the aftermath of research showing that charities were increasingly reliant on older donors for financial support. Understanding that young people are typically positively inclined towards charities, we wanted to explore our hypothesis that it was a combination of a lack of resources and a lack of opportunities to engage that was responsible for the discrepancy in giving across generations, rather than any intrinsic hostility towards charities.

But we didn’t want to focus on young people alone; we also wanted to explore the different opportunities given to people to engage with the causes that they care about throughout their life, in order to ensure that people are provided with ways to give that align with their personal circumstances as they change. This meant focusing on the years of education, the workplace and retirement. To make it happen, we recruited a cross-party panel of MPs to chair the Inquiry and reached out to organisations and people from a range of different backgrounds to ensure that we had a solid evidence base for the recommendations. We received input from a great range of people, from young audiences themselves, teachers, and organisations including BT, Age UK, Google and NUS.

At the conclusion of the Inquiry, a series of recommendations were proposed on a cross-party basis. The general theme behind the recommendations was to build on the strong desire of people in the UK to support charities, but to make it easier for them to give in ways that fitted in with their busy lives. Rather than look at all the recommendations in full we’re going to do a bit of an update on some of the ones we’ve been focusing on, and then a few broader things that we’ve learnt in the past couple of years.

Young Trustees

One of the recommendations was for more young people to be given the chance to get involved in leadership roles. We set out to find out more about the experiences of young trustees, by launching the Young Trustees Survey. Once we’d uncovered more about what life is like for young trustees, we worked with Leon Ward to create the Young Trustees Guide, which advises charities and individuals on different ways to get young people involved in charity governance. This can include traditional trusteeship, but can also see the use of a variety programmes to give young people a way to develop the skills that they will need to serve as a trustee. The report was exceptionally well received, and we’re now exploring what work we can do with the different charity regulators to track how many young trustees there are and see how that changes over time.

UCAS Guidance

The final report produced by the Inquiry suggested that young people should be able to use their commitment to social action to help their life chances. We wanted to introduce greater use of social action into the UCAS experience, and began by working with a range of organisations to come to a collective definition of what social action is. We then created a webpage on the Growing Giving website that clearly explained to young people what social action is, the kind of skills they gain from participation, and how they can get involved. We worked with UCAS, and they now link directly to that page through the guidance that they provide to people applying to university and college. Since the website was launched, we’ve turned it into a leaflet which has been distributed to schools and teachers directly.

#GivingTuesday

The report proposed that the international #GivingTuesday campaign be introduced to the UK. It’s safe to say that we’ve done that! We ran the first #GivingTuesday in the UK in 2014, building upon and increasing its success last year. We’ve managed to get support from thousands of businesses and charities ranging from household names to smaller, local groups, and set records for the amount of time that the campaign trended on twitter, and how much was donated. There has also been significant interest and support from a range of politicians and celebrities, which has helped increase the profile of the campaign, and plans for the 2016 iteration are developing quickly.

Post Careers Advice Service

Focusing on older people, the report suggested that those approaching retirement should be given advice about opportunities to get involved with volunteering locally. We wanted to explore what older people think about the idea of a Post Careers Advice Service, including how it should operate and be delivered. We also wanted to examine in greater detail the potential wider benefits associated with it, such as through health and wellbeing, and economic savings. We’ve done some research of older people to understand more about their attitudes towards an idea, which we’ll be revealing in much more detail in the next few weeks!

That’s a summary of the main points, but we’ve also been involved in behind the scenes work across a series of issues, including living legacies, will guidance, work experience in schools and putting charity at the heart of business management.

But what have we learnt over the past couple of years?

1)      A desire to support charities remains strong. Working across a range of different audiences, the enthusiasm and determination that people have to support causes close to their heart is impressive. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that people can easily support charity, and why helping young people to develop a commitment to good causes at an early age is so essential.

2)      It’s important that those giving get something back. Although people are incredibly generous, making sure that people can something in return for their giving can be a powerful incentive. This can include skills, companionship, a sense of community and much more, but making giving a two-way relationship can help strengthen the feelings a donor holds towards an organisation.

3)      Collaboration is well worth the effort. Over the past couple of years we’ve worked with organisations across a range of different areas. Bringing together expertise and sharing ideas has helped us to make a real difference in a number of areas, and learn a great deal in the process too.

That’s all from us for now – but what do you think needs to be done to help grow giving? Let us know, at campaigns@cafonline.org

Steve Clapperton

Posted 9 June 2016