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Online social networking vastly prevalent amongst young people - especially those claiming regular charitable involvement

  •  Facebook easily the most popular, not least amongst those of university age
  •  “Engage with potential young campaigners and donors via their own online social milieu”, says nfpSynergy’s Baker

5 out of 6 (83%) of all 11-25 year olds use at least one social networking site, with Facebook easily the most popular - according to data out today. Significantly, those claiming regular involvement with charities, and those of university age, are especially likely to use such online media.

These are the latest findings from leading not-for-profit sector think tank and research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Youth Engagement Monitor which tracks a representative sample of over 1000 11-25 year olds throughout mainland Britain twice-yearly, gaining insights into their views and habits, both social and charity-related.

Facebook (see attached slide 2) is by far the most popular social networking site amongst young people - used by over 7 in 10 (72%) of all 11-25 year olds; rising (see attached slide 3) to 80% of 17-25 year olds, those of college/university age – and to 83% of those who are currently at, or who have already been to, university (see attached slide 4). Amongst 11-25 year olds, it is trailed by Bebo (28%), MySpace (25%), Twitter (12%), MSN (9%), YouTube (2%) and “other” (4%). Just a sixth (17%) of all young people claim no use of any social networking site whatsoever.

Despite this, less than half (48%) of the 187 charities that were surveyed as part of nfpSynergy’s Virtual Promise (2008) report said that their organization used social networking websites.


  • Those involved regularly with charities are far more likely to use such social media than those who are not, with four fifths (79%) of those claiming regular charitable involvement using Facebook, compared with just 69% of those claiming no involvement (see attached slide 5)
  • Bebo is the only major networking site to be more popular amongst 11-16 year olds (35%) than amongst 17-25 year olds (24%) (see attached slide 3)
  • Female respondents reported a significantly higher usage across all the top 4 networking sites (see attached slide 6)

nfpSynergy researcher, Jonathan Baker, said:

“This new data shows that the vast majority of young people use social networking sites; and that use is particularly prevalent amongst those claiming regular charitable involvement. This gives charities a cheap and highly personal way to engage with potential young campaigners and donors via their own chosen online social milieu - not least those of university age, who we know are especially avid cyber networkers and might well also be more open to charitable participation and activism. Moreover, although social networking is almost universal amongst the young now, it will be for everyone very soon.”

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MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: adrian@gillanmedia.com) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy (www.nfpsynergy.net) is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.



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