Volunteering interest declines but donating intention doubles among British people in April, survey finds

A poll of 10,000 British people conducted by YouGov found fewer people were leaving their homes to volunteer, but interest in donating to good causes spiked

The number of British people interested in face-to-face volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic declined in April, but those interested in making financial donations to charities doubled, the results of a YouGov poll shared with Third Sector have revealed. 

A report from YouGov’s Coronavirus Tracker, which polled more than 10,000 people across a four-week period in March and April, revealed an initial increase in the number of people willing to offer help during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the findings, the proportion of British people who considered offering their time to support people affected by Covid-19 hit a peak at the beginning of April, with more than one in seven (16 per cent) of respondents saying on 27 March that they were interested in volunteering. 

But those numbers declined steadily over the following weeks before falling to 9 per cent by 17 April.

“There may be several reasons why the public are more reluctant to volunteer,” the data company wrote in its report. 

“Fear of catching Covid-19 has increased over the course of the study. Brits may well believe their attempts to help are doing more harm than good.” 

Despite declining interest in volunteering in person, the data showed the number of people considering making financial contributions to charities doubled over the same period. 

The proportion of people considering financial contributions to charities helping national Covid-19 causes rose from 8 per cent on 20 March to 14 per cent on 17 April. 

The proportion of respondents thinking about donating to causes unrelated to the pandemic also increased, from 7 per cent to 10 per cent, and the proportion of people willing to participate in fundraising events doubled, from 3 to 6 per cent. 

“While it could be simple belt-tightening, our data shows that those who’ve spent less money online recently are more likely to be willing to give money to charity in the next fortnight,” the report said. 

The report also suggested that respondents who had spent more were also more likely to say they were willing to donate.

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