Charities benefit more from direct debits set up on donors' own initiative, research finds

According to a report by the market intelligence company Mintel, the average from such a direct debit is £67 every three months; for those set up by street fundraisers on donors' behalf it is £44

Direct debit
Direct debit

Direct debit donations that are set up on the donor’s own initiative are on average much higher than from those solicited by street fundraisers, according to a new report from the market intelligence company Mintel.

The report, based on consumer research conducted in July with a sample of 2,000 internet users aged over 16, says that the average donation from a direct debit set up on someone’s own initiative is £67 over three months, whereas the average for those set up on donors' behalf by street fundraisers is £44 in the same period.

The report attributes the difference in value to the "widespread annoyance" it says street fundraisers cause to people. It says this relates to its finding that "helping to make a difference to other people’s lives" is the most often cited reason people give for donating to charities.

"People need to be inspired, emotionally moved or believe strongly in the cause to give to charities or to give more generously," the report says. "This explains why street canvassing does not generate anywhere near the average amount donated during church services or via direct debits that people set up of their own accord."

The average amount donated at church services over three months to July 2014, £71, constituted the highest amount taken by all donation methods, although only one in 10 adults did this.

Similarly, the average donation to religious causes in the three months to July 2014 was the highest out of all causes – it was £105 over the three months, compared with £40 for medical research and £44 for animal welfare, the two most popular causes among British donors.

This, says the report, might be because the long connection between religious organisations and charitable initiatives in Britain has instilled greater trust in those charities affiliated with religious groups. Religious groups are also able to nurture a strong emotional connection with their target audience, it says.

The report says that the most common ways of donating money to charity over the 12-month period to July 2014 were by shopping at charity shops (34 per cent of those surveyed), collection boxes in shops (34 per cent) and street collections (27 per cent).

But these conventional ways of donating also generated some of the lowest average contributions, with the average charity shop and street collection donation coming in at £43 over three months and average collection box donations amounting to £36 in the same period.

The report says that knowing exactly what happens with their donations is the single most important determinant of a generous charitable contribution.

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