Nine out of ten UK households have used a charity’s services at some point and three-quarters have used charitable services in the past 12 months, according to new research from the Charities Aid Foundation.
But a report on the findings, called Charity Street III, published today, says that almost three in ten people did not realise the service they used was run by a charity.
Using a charity’s services includes activities such as visiting its website for advice, going to a charity shop, or even visiting charity-run attractions such as museums or theatres.
Service use has fallen in 2018 compared with 2016 and has returned to levels seen in 2014, the report says.
According to the report, 90 per cent of people said they had used charitable services at some point in their lives, compared with 98 per cent in 2016 and 93 per cent in 2014.
The proportion of people who said they had used a charity’s services over the past 12 months fell from 83 per cent in 2016 to 74 per cent in 2018, the report says, although the use of charitable services in the past month stayed at about 50 per cent.
Adult-only households were the biggest reason for the fall in using charitable services, the report says, with use of services among these households having fallen by 10 percentage points in the two years.
The report tracks the use of charitable services in 2018 compared with previous versions of this research carried out in 2014 and 2016. It is based on 2,912 responses to an online survey carried out between 21 and 29 March, shortly after the scandals in the international development sector emerged.
It shows that charity shops are the most popular charitable service, although the proportion of respondents who said they had used them in the past 12 months fell from 64 per cent in 2016 to 55 per cent this year.
Visiting a charity-run gallery, museum, garden or stately home, visiting a church or religious institution, visiting a community centre or getting advice from a charity’s website were also popular uses of services, the report shows.
The proportion of people using charitable services once a week increased from 12 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent in 2018, according to the report.
The report says this shows that people who are using charitable services are doing so more frequently in 2018 than previously, using an average of 3.8 services a year in 2018 compared with just three in 2014 and 2016.
Two-thirds of people, the report says, said they believed charities were best placed to speak on behalf of disadvantaged people, and 56 per cent trusted charities to do this.