Fewer people donating to charity due to 'lack of trust'

Young people collecting rubbish on a beach in Cornwall (Getty Images)
Young people collecting rubbish on a beach in Cornwall (Getty Images)

Fewer people are giving their time and money to charity than two years ago, a survey has suggested.

The annual Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) report in the UK found the proportion of those giving money and sponsoring someone dropped from 69% in 2016, to 65% in 2018.

The report – based on the responses of 12,000 respondents – found that while the number of people donating money decreased, those remaining donors are giving higher amounts.

It means the total amount given to charity in 2018 remains largely the same as 2017, at £10.1 billion.

The figures show those who donated money to charity in the last year dropped from 61% in 2016 to 57% in 2018.

Those who sponsored someone for charity also dropped from 37% to 32% over the same period, while those who volunteered to help an organisation slipped from 17% to 16%.

Susan Pinkney, CAF head of research, said: “With three years’ worth of data, we can now see a clear trend in people’s charitable giving and it is headed in a worrying direction.”

It came as figures showed trust in charities has decreased since 2016 – from 51% to 48% agreeing that they believe charities to be trustworthy.

Huge charities such as Oxfam and Save the Children both attracted negative coverage after some of their staff were accused of sexual misconduct, while others have been accused of hounding vulnerable people for donations, such as in the case of 92-year-old Poppy seller Olive Cooke.

Fewer people are giving their time and money to charity than two years ago, according to an annual report.
Fewer people are giving their time and money to charity than two years ago, according to an annual report.

Ms Pinkey said: “If people lack trust, that means they worry that their hard-earned money is not being well spent when donated to charities.

“This is a challenge that the entire charity sector needs to tackle head on and find ways to inspire people to give and demonstrate to them that their money is making a difference.”

In terms of donating money, the peak months for giving in 2018 were November and December with 39% and 36%, respectively, having donated in the last four weeks compared to an average of 32% across the year.

This is similar to 2016 and 2017 and likely to be related to campaigns such as the World War I centenary, Movember, and Children in Need in November and Christmas appeals, CAF said.

The survey also found 49% of people signed a petition in the last year.

Although the figure is considered to be quite high, it has fallen significantly from the 54% seen in 2017 and 56% in 2016.

According to the figures, animal welfare and children or young people are the causes which donors most likely report giving to – with 26% of those polled claiming to have donated in the last four weeks.

The top five was completed by medical research charities (25%) followed by hospitals and hospices (20%) and overseas aid and disaster relief (18%).

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