Forty-three per cent of people think they are likely to reduce one-off cash donations to charities after last month's spending review, according to research by the marketing agency Watson Phillips Norman.
The survey asked a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British adults how they expected their donation behaviour to change in the next 12 months.
More than a quarter, 26.9 per cent, said they would be giving "a lot less", 15.6 per cent said "a bit less" and 54.7 per cent said "about the same". Only 2.8 per cent said they were likely to increase their donations. Forty-one per cent said they would be likely to reduce regular donations, such as direct debits.
Tod Norman, brand planning director at WPN, said he did not necessarily expect donations to fall as much as some predicted. "People have to take active steps to stop a donation and an inertia occurs," he said.
The research also found that when people decide to reduce donations, their most likely criterion is to ask which charities need the money more; 61.6 per cent of respondents selected this option.
"If charities want to preserve their portion of the shrinking pie of cash donations, they must convince donors that their charity needs it more than their competitor," said Norman. He said they could do this by making emotional appeals that emphasised the importance of the donors' support for the charity.