Third Sector study shows first dip in charitable giving since 2016

Donating Trends in the UK 2019 says 77% of respondents gave to charity in the past year, compared with 81-82% in the year before that, the first fall since the report was first published in 2016

The proportion of people who say they donate to charities has fallen for the first time in four years, according to Third Sector’s report Donating Trends in the UK 2019, out today.

The report, based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults, reflects changing donating habits among UK adults across a broad range of demographics.

This year’s report says that 77 per cent of the adults surveyed said they had given to charity in the past year, compared with between 81 and 82 per cent since the study began in 2016.

The sudden drop was mainly due to fewer men donating, the study found.

Only 72 per cent of men said they gave, compared with 80 per cent in every year since 2016.

Giving by women has also fallen, but only very slightly.

The greatest fall in giving by age group occurred among respondents aged 16 to 24: only 73 per cent said they gave, compared with 80 per cent in 2018.

The main reason cited for not donating was not being able to afford to do so (60 per cent), followed by not trusting charities (27 per cent) and not enough of the money reaching the cause (26 per cent).

Earlier this month, the Charities Aid Foundation’s study UK Giving 2019 study reported a "worrying" downward trend in giving in recent years. It found the proportion of people who gave directly or indirectly to charity fell to 65 per cent in 2018 from 69 per cent in 2016.

This year’s Donating Trends study reports a sharp fall in the number of people who say they trust charities to spend their money wisely.

Forty-three per cent of respondents said they trusted charities to spend their money wisely, compared with a high of 48 per cent in 2017.

Younger adults appear to be contributing to that decline. In 2018, those aged 25 to 34 were among the most trusting of all respondents, with 12 per cent saying they had complete trust in charities to spend money wisely. But in 2019 that figure has fallen to just 7 per cent.

Being pressured to sign up or donate and spending large amounts of money on senior pay were the chief reasons (both 36 per cent) respondents gave when asked what would erode their trust in charities.

The full Donating Trends report, which examines the ways people prefer to donate across gender, age, family, social class and location, is available to buy.

The five-part report explores donor relationships with charities, the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on attitudes to sharing personal data, levels of trust among donors, where donations are made and preferred methods of giving.

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