Proportion of people giving to charity at 'unprecedented' low

The proportion of people who said they made a donation to charity in the past three months has remained at an “unprecedented” low, new research shows.

Figures from the consultancy nfpSynergy last year showed that 54 per cent of the 1,000 GB adults it surveyed in August said they had made a charitable donation in the preceding three months, down from 69 per cent in January 2020.

The figure was the lowest nfpSynergy had recorded in 10 years of conducting the research.

The data, which is based on research completed in March, showed that the figure remained at this historic low level, rising by just one percentage point to 55 per cent.

The figures show that, while donation levels had held up well in younger age groups, there were “significant drops” in the proportion of people aged 35 and over who said they had made a charitable donation in the previous three months.

While 71 per cent of 45- to 54-year-olds in the January 2020 research said they had made a donation, that figure fell to 41 per cent in the latest research.

It also showed that giving by 35- to 44-year-olds had fallen by 18 percentage points over the same period.

A report by nfpSynergy into the findings says this is concerning because it is likely that older donors account for the bulk of charities' donated income.

“While the vaccine rollout is in full swing and Covid-19 as a health crisis has a potential resolution in sight, the economic ramifications of the last 12 months look likely to become an entrenched part of the next decade, given the enormous government debt needing to be serviced,” the report also says.

“With the economic crisis set to become a predominant feature of the next decade, where does this leave economic security, public fundraising and charity donations?”

It also showed that 40 per cent of people said they expected to cut back the amount they give to charity in the next 12 months.

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