Number of UK charity donors falls by three million compared with before the pandemic, research finds

The number of people who have recently donated to UK charities has fallen by almost three million compared with before the pandemic, a new report has found.

Research from the tech company Lightful, in partnership with the pollsters YouGov, found that about 22.5 million people donated to charity in the three months to October this year.

This is compared with 25.4 million who donated during the same period in 2019, Lightful said.

The figures were based on responses from more than 300,000 people.

The report says that urgent action is needed to help the charity sector raise funds at a time of rising demand for their services.

Lightful also highlighted research by the Law Family Commission on Civil Society that described a “perfect storm” for fundraising in a survey of 350 charity leaders.

That research found several pandemic-related factors – including burnout, unemployment and rising inflation – have meant that charities working across poverty, homelessness and health and social care have reported a surge in the need for their services.

The Charities Aid Foundation's UK Giving Report 2021, published last month, found that 1.6 million people in the UK donated to charity in 2020 compared with the previous year. But the total amount given rose by about £700m because people gave more.

Vinay Nair, chief executive of Lightful, said digital and hybrid fundraising approaches would help enable charities to be successful in the future.

“While charities proved their resilience during the acute phase of the pandemic, they are now having to fight even harder for attention to generate funds that will guarantee their survival and ability to deliver their vital work to those most in need,” he said.

“Charities have some of the most authentic stories to tell, so it’s crucial that the government and institutional funders act quickly to provide the sector with more direct grants, alongside the online training, tools and funds needed to develop critical digital skills.”


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