Sarah Jesudason, prefers to donate to charities online. Photo: Graham Tidy
Young people are becoming more charitable online than offline, because they can share their fundraising efforts with peers.
St Vincent de Paul Society marketing and fundraising director Mark Thompson says donors are aware of conveying a positive public persona.
“People like to show that they support X amount of charities, from a corporate point of view it portrays the perception they are a community player,” Mr Thompson said.
Sarah Jesudason, 26, has donated to several charities online including St Vinnies, the RSPCA's Million Paws Walk and Compassion Australia.
While social media charity apps allow donors to leave a comment anonymously, peer-pressure often encourages young people to donate more to support friends' causes.
“I can see how people may feel pressured to increase their donations by leaving an anonymous donation, but generally I know my personal spending limitations,” Mrs Jesudason said.
However the ability to directly target friends, family and work colleagues online makes it more likely for tech-savvy youth to confront friends in their fundraising efforts.
“In a way donating online is less evasive, as you aren't approaching strangers, and people can ignore your request for donations,” Mrs Jesudason said.
Competition for the donors' dollar has forced charities to maintain a regular dialogue to keep people engaged online.
“Younger people are more likely to donate online than older people, because they've grown up with technology, they inherently trust it,” Mr Thompson said.
Compared to traditional methods of fundraising, digital fundraising is changing charities strategic focus.
“Door knocking was really successful when communities used to interact a lot with each other, now people have such busy lifestyles,” Mr Thompson said.
Mrs Jesudason said the process sent a receipt directly sent to email which made tax claims easier.
Young people are not alone using charities to improve their online image. Businesses are also getting in on the act through professional networking sites such as 'LinkedIn'.
“It's important for businesses to show a connection with the community,” Mr Thompson said.
Online fundraising accounts for about 46 per cent of St Vincent de Paul Society's donations.
“It's quicker, they have more control over the decision process, and they can do it without having to take time out of their busy day,” Mr Thompson said.