THE next generation of Scottish 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.
Explains a spokesperson: “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.
He said: “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.”
The spokesperson added: “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.”
Grant McFarlane, corporate and major donor fundraising manager 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 Edinburgh, London, the Thames Valley and Cambridge on Friday, October 7.
For more information, go to http://www.bytenight.org.uk/.
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In August 2011, Accenture commissioned a survey of 1,009 adults across the UK. The online survey was designed by Accenture in partnership with Action for Children and was conducted by Redshift Research with a randomly selected, nationally representative, sample of male and female UK panelists. The demographic breakdown of respondents comprised of 141 18-24 year-olds, 172 25-34 year-olds, 192 35-44 year-olds, 151 55-64 year-olds, and 192 respondents aged 65 or older.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
About Action for Children
Action for Children supports and speaks out for the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people, for as long as it takes to make a difference in their lives. Action for Children works with the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people: whose families need support; are in care; who are disabled; who experience severe difficulties in their lives. Action for Children is a national charity delivering services that respond to the local needs of children, young people, their families and communities.
 18-24 year-olds.
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