Donations to charity hit £10.3bn in 2017, according to CAF

20 Mar 2018 News

Charities in the UK received more than £10bn worth of donations during 2017, despite the fact that the number of people giving actually fell, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.

The UK Giving report, published today by CAF, showed that the total amount given to charity during 2017 was £10.3bn, an increase of over £600m from the previous year. The report showed that the total amount donated to charity during 2017 increased, despite the fact that the number of people donating to charity actually decreased.

The report, compiled from data taken from surveys of over 12,000 people conducted by YouGov during 2017, found that 60 per cent of respondents said they had donated to charity at some point during 2017, compared to 61 per cent of respondents the previous year. The number of people sponsoring someone for charity also fell from 37 per cent to 35 per cent in 2017. 

In terms of age demographics, the report said that “older people continue to give the most” to charity but found a strong increase in donations from so-called “millennials” – with the 16-24-year-old age bracket giving more money to charity than those aged 25-34 for the first time.

Over a quarter of survey respondents said they had donated to a medical research charity at some point during 2017, making such charities the most popular in terms of donations. A further 24 per cent of donors gave to animal welfare charities, while 23 per cent of those surveyed said they had donated to a children’s charity, hospital and hospice or an overseas aid organisation at some point.

Trust in charities 'stable' 

CAF said that overall trust in charities “remained stable” in 2017, with 51 per cent of respondents still believing most charities to be “trustworthy”. Respondents aged 16-24 were the most trusting of charity, with 57 per cent of total respondents saying charities were trustworthy. Slightly less than half of both the 45-64 and 65+ age groups responded in the same way.

The report also found that women are more likely to donate money to charity than men in general, and more likely to support just about every kind of charity cause except for sports and recreation. The report said that “young people are the most likely to give to physical and mental health care, homeless people and educational institutions” while the oldest age group are more likely to give to “hospitals and hospices, religious organisations” and charities looking after the elderly.

However, while men are less likely to give to charity than women, those who do continue to give more per person. The report showed that the average man donated £46 a month to charity, compared to £42 per woman. However, average monthly donations by women have increased from £35 a month to £42 since 2016. 

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Although total donations are slightly up, the number of people giving has fallen. It’s far too soon to tell if that represents a trend, but we need to be careful if giving becomes concentrated in fewer, larger donations.

“It is telling that men are less likely to give money than women, although those who do on average give more, men are also less likely to volunteer. But the good news is that young millennials seem to be giving more than in previous years and that bodes well for the future.

“Crucially, we note that trust in charities remains stable. While we in charities must always strive for the best and never be complacent about the high standards expected of us, the enduring trust people have in our country’s voluntary sector should be a source of pride, and something precious we need to protect.”

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “The charity sector is built on the donations that people give to causes they care about. The British public continue to be generous and we’re pleased to see this report estimating an increase of around half a billion pounds in the total amount given to charity.

"This pays tribute to the hard work and dedication of the thousands of fundraisers across the UK who create innovative campaigns and inspire millions of people to give. It’s heartening to see that on average the amount that people say they donate to charity has increased.

"However, there are findings in the report which give us pause for thought. We continue to see a demographic disparity with men giving less than women, and the slight decrease in sponsorship levels suggests that fewer people gave money in 2018 than the previous year. Fundraisers will be thinking about strategies to address this and how they can get more people giving, and people giving more.”

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