Different guests have different tastes 


A chef in the kitchen needs to think about what kind of meal guests will appreciate. The same goes for NGOs when doing development education. Our goal is always to touch people and motivate them to contribute to global development. But what motivates people? This can be very different when comparing, for instance, a pupil in school and a business manager. Different groups that NGOs address have different interests in the global situation and they have different opinions on what they can each do about development. Of course every NGO would like to have development topics that are known to a broad public. But addressing everyone with the same content means that we as NGOs will end up addressing no one in the right way.

The underlying idea of the actions that we describe here on the database is, therefore, that it is far more promising to first select a group of people within society and then specifically focus on this group with the contents and methods that are most suitable. With the development education actions described in this database we are addressing not just the broader society but are also focusing on a special group of people. In social sciences they are called “Young Modern Performers”. Let’s find out more about them….


Who are Young Modern Performers?


© helix - Fotolia


Young Modern Performers (YMPs) are a new social class of around 10% within the  European population. The emergence of YMPs is a phenomenon that has not been acknowledged by development education yet. YMPs are the up-and-coming, unconventional professional elite (also called the “new upper class”). YMPs are between 25 and 35 years of age. The group consists mostly of young professionals within the first years of their careers but also recent graduates and senior students of high level universities. Many women are among YMPs, though slightly more men can be found in this social group.


Why target Young Modern Performers with development education?


We are targeting YMPs with our development actions described herein because within this group lies a great deal of influence in our society. They work in economy, administration and cultural life.


© mconnors


They are well trained, achieve surpassing incomes and hold key positions in working life (or are on the verge of applying for these positions after graduation). YMPs work as political advisors, lawyers, media agents and journalists, deputies, staff of CEOs, project managers, analysts and in other high level positions. In contrast to the traditional upper class, YMPs are not aligned to fixed value sets but are considered to be still flexible in their choice of values. Open minded as they are, YMPs also show great interest in global politics and are open to development topics as well. This is a chance for NGOs to open development education to a new target group if we understand how to address their interests.


What are Young Modern Performers interested in? 

In order to get to know more about YMPs we did polls amongst them. The polls were conducted in the countries of our partner organizations: Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, and Poland. Even though each country is different, there are characteristics of YMPs that are common in all above-mentioned countries:



© SXC - Photo by ugur canYMPs spend little time on educational activities not related to career building, as they are very constrained by their working life. Moreover, studies show that YMPs dislike formal educational offers such as seminars in adult education centers. They prefer self-guided learning.

This is part of the problem that we face as NGOs when addressing YMPs with the many events that we usually organize.

And this is why we as a consortium of NGOs chose to take information into the everyday life of YMPs instead of waiting for them to come to our events. To do so we used “Casual Learning” in our actions as a new and innovative method.


Development topics

We found that YMPs are interested in many topics such as politics, economics, sports, culture and healthy lifestyle. However, when it comes to development topics the degree of knowledge among YMPs varies a lot. Most of them claim to have at least medium knowledge of these issues. Also, they generally claim to be interested in these issues. As for sustainable lifestyle, the results are similar; there are YMPs with very good knowledge of sustainable lifestyle, but also those that lack this knowledge. Overall the YMPs are quite responsive to this issue and are interested especially in topics of sustainability that refer to everyday life  – organic food, electrical appliances with low consumption of energy, green energy, etc.

This is why we focused on these topics in our development actions related to everyday life of YMPs. 


Leisure time interests 


© Sergejs Rahunoks @ Yeko Photo Studio   © Minerva Studio - Fotolia


YMPs generally dedicate their free time to sports and to their friends. They like to hang out in the cinema, restaurants, and bars. YMPs care about their food. They prefer buying organic or locally produced food if possible. However, fair trade products are not well known to them.


 © SXC / Gabriella Fabbri


Fashion is very important to YMPs. Many of them shop in chains such as H&M, while those with more money seek upmarket brands and more personal approaches. YMPs mostly lack the background on questionable working conditions in developing countries behind big fashion labels.



Most YMPs use the car as a means of transport. Some of them are aware that it is not the most ecological or economical way; however, they would not sacrifice it for going by bicycle, although they would be open to the option of electric cars if they were more widespread. They also fly a lot, as traveling is part of their lifestyle.



The medium number one for Young Modern Performers is definitely internet. YMPs are in fact the group within society that most intensively uses the internet. Many of them also listen to radio. Fewer of them read newspapers, news and lifestyle magazines, or watch TV.

This means for NGOs who want to target YMPs that connecting their development educational actions to the internet will increase their effectiveness. In our recipes you will find some examples of this, such as use of Facebook pages.


Where to find Young Modern Performers?

The answer to this question is essential to know if as an NGO you want to address this group. YMPs like to enjoy their free time and relax from work. They especially like doing sports and spending their free time actively. They enjoy all kinds of individual sports including hiking, cycling, sailing, and skiing. In the cities you will find them in gyms.


© Diego Cervo © SXC - Photo by Benjamin Earwicker


When not doing sports, YMPs enjoy having a nice meal and meeting up with their friends over a drink or coffee. Most of them have lunch in a restaurant every day. You will encounter them in upscale restaurants, trendy bars and cafés. Most of them care for their food and, if available, they prefer organic food. Therefore an organic grocery shop or a farmers’ market might also be good places to spot them.

YMPs are also keen on culture and clubbing. As for culture, they usually prefer movies and concerts. Cinemas and clubs are therefore also places frequented by YMPs.


© corepics - Fotolia


© SXC - Photo by Roman PlojShopping is also a popular pastime of YMPs and fashion is very important to them. Malls are definitely good places to address YMPs as apart from the shopping, there are other activities that YMPs enjoy as cinema and dining.


Want to have even more information about Young Modern Performers? Check out our opinion poll results in detail.