Making a difference
In spring 2006 we asked you about making an impact on the world. You shared your thoughts on a wide range of issues including voting, forfeiting a high salary to work for a charity, and boycotting Nike.
The question at the heart of this survey boiled down to: do you feel the actions of individuals can help change the world? After all, why bother trying to make a difference if you don't think it's possible? 79% of you said 'yes', a pessimistic 8% said 'no' and 12% of you refused to be pinned down either way. That's not bad going in our book.
You told us that you're passionate about a diverse range of issues and charities with the largest portion of you (39%) having a specific interest in children and youth. Animals, poverty and the environment were also popular. The charities that you were most interested in were related to cancer and mental health.
Top five ways you contribute to charities
- Giving old clothes to charity shops: 80%
- Spontaneous giving e.g. to a collection, homeless person or busker: 71%
- Sponsoring friends: 69%
- Taking part in sponsored events: 44%
- Making regular payments to charity: 28%
Nearly half of you (49%) currently volunteer, while 19% have volunteered in the past. Your volunteering roles have included working with street children in Brazil, helping out at charity shops, schools and museums, and manning helplines.
32% of you haven't had experience of volunteering, mainly because you simply haven't had time. While some of you claim you will volunteer in the future, others admit it's just not your thing.
Over half of you (57%) have picked up some bargains from charity shops and a promising 34% of you say you're not against the idea. 8% of you think it's gross to buy from them, while a lonely 1% of you say it's all you can afford.
We asked you to consider whether you'd prefer to work for a charity for £25,000 a year or an oil company for £50,000 a year. Most of you (64%) chose charity for several reasons including the chance of greater job satisfaction, believing there's more to life than money, having a clean conscience, not wanting to damage the environment and wanting to help people.
Those of you who chose the oil company were unanimous in your opinion that you'd like more money.
Companies and shops you boycott
- McDonalds and KFC
You've rejected Nestle for its sales of baby milk in the developing world; McDonalds for its alleged destruction of rainforests, poor treatment of animals and corporate nature; Starbucks for its effect on independent coffee shops and Nike for its use of sweatshops.
Do you buy fair-trade food?
- Sometimes: 46%
- Yes, whenever possible: 35%
- Never: 12%
- Don't know: 7%
The majority (68%) are happy to eat any kind of meat because you like it, you think it's natural, or you think it's nutritious. 14% eat white meat only because you don't like red meat. A further 14% are vegetarian for a variety of reasons including not wanting to eat dead animals, not liking the taste, worrying about animal cruelty and religious beliefs.
You've been involved in the following:
- Signing a petition: 97%
- Writing to an MP: 40%
- Taking part in a demonstration: 37%
- Boycotting an organisation: 33%
- Organising a petition: 21%
- Taking part in a strike: 17%
About 60% of you are old enough to vote but not all of you choose to. 53% vote while the remaining 7% of you don't. Of the 36% of you that aren't old enough, 4% say you don't intend to.