How to successfully engage young people with your charity initiative

By Press Office
September 14, 2015

The starting point for any successful charitable initiative should always be an awareness of a need that is not currently being met and a clear idea of how it could be. First, make sure there isn’t already an organisation doing something similar. Setting up a charity is fairly easy but finding the funds required to sustain its mission can be more challenging.

Some of the very best charitable and community initiatives that I’ve witnessed have been the brainchild of someone with a real and tangible connection to that issue. Simply, their personal experience equips them with a passion and desire to help that provides the empathy and focus that a new charitable initiative requires to get off the ground. But if you're doing something you really believe in, and that makes a genuine difference the rewards are worth it.

This is why ‘addressing a real need’ sits centrally to the judging criteria for our CIT Awards through which we provide seed corn funding at or near the beginning of an initiative’s development.

It is our belief that the most effective methods for cultivating social innovation start from the presumption that people are competent interpreters of their own lives and solvers of their own problems. That is not to say, of course, that these ideas will not require additional support and guidance (they almost certainly will), but it is vital that the voices of those who will benefit are heard and listened to.

This is no less the case when that initiative is focused on supporting young people who should always be given a voice and input.

Young people often have some of the greatest needs and most innovative thoughts for how their challenges can be tackled. Yet they’re often reluctant to stick their hands up and have their ideas heard. To inspire those young people, we just need to take a look at one of our previous CIT Award winners, Stephen Addison of Boxed Up Crime who made his idea a reality and in doing so, changed many lives.

When one of Stephen’s friends got shot, he decided it was time to do something to help keep young people off the streets. This personal experience, coupled with his own Christian Faith, was enough to start him on the journey to launch the initiative which runs boxing sessions as a means of keeping young people occupied, out of trouble and doing something that will keep them fit whilst making new friends.

With a background as a national amateur boxing champion and with his own negative experiences growing up, Stephen is able to relate to the young people who join the academy. He talks their language and understands what they’re going through, but importantly at the same time he’s been wise enough to gather support from other organisations and people to make his vision happen.

Stephen had a great idea that he was passionate about and importantly, he could see the potential for it to be replicated and grow over time. If you’re either a young person with an idea that has the ‘wow’ factor, or know of someone who does, then entries to our CIT Awards are being accepted until October 6th.

The CIT Awards seek to support Christian organisations that offer a simple solution to a real and identifiable problem. The winning ideas will be those that add something new to existing approaches and which, with a little investment, can be easily implemented. The winning proposals will also have clear plans, realistic budgets and a level of professionalism that makes us believe that winning really will help set you off on the road to greatness!

Full entry criteria details can be found at: http://www.christianinitiativetrust.org.uk/cit-awards/

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.