While 15 to 29-year-olds are often branded as the apathetic Generation Y, Oxfam Australia says it has seen the number of young people buying charitable gifts double since it started its Oxfam Unwrapped program in 2005.
Oxfam Unwrapped allows people to purchase items like cooking sets, cattle manure and goats to help the aid agency provide similar items to poor communities, while receiving a card to show friends how they are helping.
So far, 16 per cent of young people have purchased the gifts, which is an increase of eight per cent from the first year it started.
Over the same period, the popularity of the gifts among 30 to 44 year olds, generally considered to be Generation X, and the 45 to 59 year old Baby Boomer generation has remained relatively steady.
Analysis of last year’s sales also reveals that quirkier gifts like cattle manure – which helps people in Sri Lanka who use it as a cheap fertiliser to increase their crops – are most popular with the 15 to 29 age group.
The top seller across all age groups last year was the chicken, which this year will support Oxfam’s work with women in Laos to help them learn how to rear poultry to earn a living.
Oxfam Australia’s fundraising manager Leigh Stewart said that every year the majority of Oxfam Unwrapped purchases were made in the lead up to the Christmas period.
“With only a month to go until Christmas, Oxfam Unwrapped is now at its busiest time because the festive season is when people often think about giving to others.
“We find people like supporting our work through Oxfam Unwrapped goats, pigs and chickens as it allows them to make a donation to people less fortunate, while giving a Christmas gift to a friend or relative at the same time,” she said.
“While trends come and go and many of us no longer use the gifts we received last year, a goat is something that will keep on giving milk and manure to people in Mozambique long into the future.”