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Donations and charity shop spending up 16% as Covid restrictions lift

22 Jul 2021 News

Charitable donations and spending at charity shops rose sharply in the last three months, according to data released by the building society Nationwide.

Analysis of over half a billion transactions by Nationwide members showed that they contributed £134m to charities between April and June, up 16% compared with the first three months of the year.

This included spending in charity shops, direct debit and one-off donations, and paying for services delivered by charities, the company said.

Nearly six million charitable transactions

The data, published this morning, showed that Nationwide members contributed £133.7m to charity in the second quarter of the year.

They made 5.8 million separate charitable transactions, through debit and credit card spending, mobile and contactless payments, and via direct debits.  

The amount of money going to charity was up 16% compared with the first quarter of 2021, while the number of individual charitable transactions was up 42%.

The data on charities is in line with other non-essential spending, which Nationwide said has “soared” since Covid-19 restrictions started to ease earlier in the year. Spending on holidays rose by 73%, while spending on gardening and eating out at restaurants both doubled.

Charity spending one sign ‘of a brighter future’

Mark Nalder, Nationwide’s head of payments, said: “As the country reopens, our latest quarterly spending report suggests that consumer spending is following suit as people loosen those purse strings and start to enjoy getting back out there. 

“This yearning for a sense of normality, combined with a successful vaccination programme, is perhaps what is driving spend upwards – with a significant increase in holiday spend a prime example of this. 

“The feeling of a brighter future is perhaps acting as a catalyst for wider increased spending, from charity donations to seeing friends again – all of which is keeping the tills ringing.”

He added: “As we move deeper into summer, we expect non-essential spending to continue edging up as people look to enjoy their freedom using some of the savings built up during lockdown to help boost the economy.”

In June Andy Haldane, the former chief economist at the Bank of England, argued that charities may be able to access up to £1.2bn in donations thanks to excess household savings built up during the pandemic.

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