Saturday, 20 April 2024
Saturday, 20 April 2024

New research looks at how Brits are engaging with charities

A major study of giving behaviours in the UK through the cost of living crisis has shown a mood of cautious generosity among the UK public.

The findings show a mixed picture by income bracket, which may have significant implications for fundraisers into 2023.

Around 1 in 5 people (18%) are not planning to donate to charities at all this year, a 50% increase from last year (12%).

The rate of those who stopped donations in 2022 is, unsurprisingly, highest among those earning £15k or under, with most in this income bracket worried about affording basic needs.

All income brackets were motivated to give by seeing rising domestic and international needs, and by the war in Ukraine. Many, especially in lower income brackets, were motivated to give an understanding of the rising costs for charities. Higher-income donors felt a moral duty to share their privilege.

An awareness of food insecurity is another big motivator for donations. While 10% of people donated to support the cause of ‘hunger’ in 2022, this looks set to increase by almost three-quarters to 17% in 2023. More than half of Brits donated to food banks in 2022 – a 22 percentage point increase on previous figures. Of those who donated (53% vs 31% in previous trackers), 93% did so in the previous six months, and 44% in the past month – showing not just one-off food donations, but regular support for food banks.

The research also found increased charity shop purchases and engagement with raffles and lotteries in 2022 vs 2020-21 – and that one in 10 under 24-year-olds had made a donation through gaming – an area for community fundraisers to look at for the future.

The research, which polled more than 1,500 people, was carried out by Blue State, a global agency that partners with organisations such as UNICEF, UNHCR, Oxfam, Save The Children and Amnesty International.

“This research shows some reasons for both optimism and caution,” says Lizi Zipser, Executive Director of Blue State. “While the lowest earners are having to cut their donations, we’re seeing middle and higher earners keep up their donation rates and even increase them.

“Most reassuring is the fact that more people said they intend to increase their giving than those who said they intend to stop giving. People can see the need in the world is increasing. They want to be part of a solution and feel there is hope for them and the people and causes they care about. Organisations that lean into this need for hope and solutions, while optimising for donor value and not just volume may be able to get through this crisis with their funding intact.”

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