More than a million more people gave to charity in 2010/11 than in the previous year, but the median donation was smaller and the total value of donations stayed flat, according to research for the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
The Office for National Statistics surveyed 3,000 UK adults for the UK Giving 2011 report and found that the proportion of people who donated to charity had increased to 58 per cent from 56 per cent in 2009/10. This meant 1.1 million more people giving to charity.
The survey also found that donors gave £11bn in 2010/11, compared with £10.6bn the previous year. But inflation meant the value of donations did not rise, the report says, and in real terms they were worth £900m less than the amount given in 2007/08, before the UK went into recession.
The report says the median gift per month fell from £12 in 2009/10 to £11 in 2010/11. Cash was still the most commonly used donation method, used by 47 per cent of donors. The proportion of donors using direct debit increased from 26 per cent in 2004/05 to 32 per cent in 2010/11.
The use of Gift Aid also increased, with 40 per cent using it in 2009/10 and 42 per cent using it in 2010/11.
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said the government’s focus on giving was welcome, but the report showed that donation levels remained stubbornly flat. "If we are to create a stronger culture of giving in the UK, this will require continued commitment and investment by both the government and charities," he said.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said the figures from the report showed that charities needed to work extra hard to attract donors. "The quality of the ask remains essential," he said. "The sector needs to build links between donors and causes and send out a strong message that all giving makes a difference."