Loose change donations worth £320m a year to charities, says CAF

15 May 2018 News

Donations of loose change could be worth an estimated £320m a year for the charity sector, according to new YouGov research commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation. 

The research published today by CAF, based on a survey of 1,123 people conducted by YouGov, found that 65 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men surveyed said they had donated loose change to charity at some point in the last year. 

The YouGov survey found that, while more women tend to donate loose change to charity a year, those men who do give coins are likely to donate more overall on average. For men the average amount donated in coins a year was £20.75 compared to £10.76 for women.

CAF arrived at its £320m figure by extrapolating the survey data “based on the proportion of respondents giving the relevant answer in the nationally representative UK Giving survey” and then estimating a figure using Office for National Statistics “mid-year population estimates for people aged over 16 years”. 

A spokesman for the organisation said the survey was commissioned by CAF as it was "intrigued to see how much people donate in loose change," with the government's consultation on cash and digital payments in the new economy due to close on 5 June 2018.

The spokesman said that CAF would likely publish a "response to the consultation's findings" once they are released. 

Cash 'most popular' donation channel 

CAF’s 2018 UK Giving Report, which was published in March, found that 55 per cent of the more than 12,000 respondents had donated cash to charity in the last 12 months, which made it the most popular donation channel. 

The 2018 report found however that the popularity of cash donations had in fact fallen, down three percentage points from 58 per cent of respondents in the previous year’s report. 

Gift Aid research commissioned by HMRC in September 2016 estimated that money donations to collecting tins or buckets to be worth as much as £620m a year to the charity sector.

The research also estimated that as much as 78 per cent of the population had made such a donation at least once in the previous 12 months. 

This research however didn’t stipulate what it meant by “money to collecting tins or buckets”, so may well include paper money donations.

Government must work with charities on cashless

Susan Pinkney, head of research at CAF, said this latest piece of research showed that while coins remain an important donation channel for charities, the sector still needs support in handling the transfer to cashless donations from the government. 

“It’s brilliant that people donate millions of pounds a year in loose change – money put into collection tins or spent at charity stalls across the length and breadth of the UK.

“Cash is still by far the most common way people donate to charity, and nothing is easier than putting your hand in your pocket and putting a few coins into a collection. 

“But we know that overall, cash transactions are falling. So if cash becomes less and less popular in the future it’s vital that the government works with charities and the payment industry, to make sure giving remains as easy as tapping a card or putting a few coins in a tin.”

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