The proportion of people in Northern Ireland who give to charity has fallen by 17 percentage points over the past year, a survey commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action indicates.
A representative poll of 1,010 adults, carried out face-to-face by the polling company Ipsos Mori in March, found that 56 per cent of people had made a donation to charity in the previous four weeks, compared with 73 per cent in the same poll last year.
The most notable drop was in the 16 to 24-year-old age bracket, where the proportion of those who said they had made a donation had fallen from 72 per cent in 2013 to 40 per cent this year.
The survey found that people were most likely to give money to charity for a personal reason, such as being asked to donate by a family member, which accounted for 16 per cent of donations.
The second most common reason was spontaneous giving, at 13 per cent, while street fundraising, with 10 per cent, was third.
Andrea Thornbury, a researcher at Nicva who worked on the report, said she thought the fall could be explained by the fact that the previous year’s survey had been carried out during the Lenten campaign run by Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland, and just after Comic Relief.
Both of these are "brilliant at encouraging people to donate", she said. "However, we can’t ignore the fact that fewer people are giving now than last year and this is a trend we will keep a close eye on."
A full infographic produced by Nicva on charitable giving in Northern Ireland can be viewed here.