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Giving to charity down by 3 per cent

Giving to charity down by 3 per cent
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Giving to charity down by 3 per cent

Fundraising | Gemma Ware | 1 Dec 2007

The number of people giving to charity fell by 3 per cent over the last year, triggering the same drop in the amount donated to the sector, according to the UK Giving 2007 report.

The third annual survey of charitable giving, published by Charities Aid Foundation and the NCVO, found that 54 per cent of the public gave to charity in 2006-07, a fall of 3 per cent on the previous year. The annual estimate of total UK giving now stands stood at £9.5bn, a fall by 3 per cent in real terms.

Religious causes were the only ones to experience growth in giving, with their share in the proportion of donations rising from 7 to 8 per cent. However, medical research charities still received the most, bringing in 17 per cent of all the money donated.

Certain parts of the population proved lessinclined to donate, with significant overall decreases in by men, people aged between 25 and 44 and those in routine and manual occupations.

The most generous sections of the population were women, particularly married women, aged between 45 and 64 and those in professional and managerial work. “These are the groups that ought to be targeted in fundraising campaigns,” the report concluded.

The survey also found that wealthy people were most likely to donate and to donate the most money, with 7 per cent of donors giving 49 per cent of the total amount.

Although giving by wealthy philanthropists was outside the remit of the survey, it found some evidence of a move towards higher-value donations, with the proportion of high-level donors giving £100 or more rising from 11 per cent to 16 per cent over three years.

Richard Harrison, research director at Charities Aid Foundation, said that while there could be no one explanation for the fall in giving, it could be down to a “post-tsunami redressing”.

However, he added that the results could suggest more giving is being done at a higher level not explored in the survey. “It could be possible that in our burgeoning democracy, we could be seeing giving moving up towards high-net-worth givers.”

Other findings proved that while direct debit was the most valuable fundraising method, bringing in £2.3bn in 2006-07 – a quarter of all donations – cash was still the most popular with 48 per cent of people choosing to give that way.  

A special report within the survey also found that 50 per cent of all donors gave to more than one cause and concluded that charities should target other charities’ donors rather than approaching the population as a whole.

It also found that donors for some causes, such as religious and overseas, were likely to cluster together, with a third of those donors who gave to religious causes also donating money to overseas charities.

As a result, Harrison said charities may need to reconsider investing in mechanisms that did not target existing charitable donors.

“What the findings tell us is that if you’re a fundraiser sitting at your desk, your potential donor is already giving to another charity. So I think the conclusion is for a fundraiser, think of your stereotypical starting-point donor as somebody who’s already giving, rather than perhaps spending a lot of time converting non-givers to your cause.”
 
The report was based on 3,629 interviews with the general public that took place in three batches in June and October 2006 and February 2007.

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