Young people in civil society organizations


The project runs for two years (2011 – 2013) and is funded by the Jacobs Foundation.
The research focuses on the question as to how the integration of young people into the work of civil society organizations can be improved. Such organizations depend on their ability to enlist to the cooperation of young people to secure their future existence. At the same time civil society organizations provide a setting for young people that enables them to acquire knowledge and skills and hence improve their quality of life.
Due to demographic change, the number of young people in the population is decreasing. Moreover, the nature of young people’s civic involvement has changed. It is more project-oriented and takes place increasingly outside of established organizations. Young people themselves are experiencing structural changes. Various external factors such as increased mobility requirements, the growing importance of the Internet, and school and university reforms affect their commitment behavior. Hence, in effect, young people have less time at their disposal for charitable activities. As a result, the pool of new young activists available for recruitment is shrinking. This may lead to competition between nonprofit organizations for young people.
Hence, it is advisable that the organizations intensify their efforts and find new ways to rejuvenate themselves and involve more adolescents in their activities. An important question that arises in this context is how the social exclusivity that continues to prevail among committed young people can be overcome. Gender equality is also an important issue as is the acquisition of skills for the development and professional prospects of the young people in question.
The project analyses the current situation with a view to obtaining differentiated scientific knowledge about the importance of organizations for the commitment of young people as, up to now, little information has been available on this topic. Furthermore, we aim to identify existing problem areas and potential solutions for organizations.

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(Contact: Mareike Alscher)