Giving More, Spending Less: 5 Charity Trends for 2023

Shops on a street

Giving More, Spending Less: 5 Charity Trends for 2023

Our latest data shows trends that are likely to continue into the next few months. Join us as we explore what the holiday period can show us about the fundraising climate for Spring 2023.

Ben Roberts

January is almost done, and the holiday season is long over. The snow has thawed, the days are getting longer, and the supermarket shelves have had their chocolate reindeer replaced with chocolate rabbits. Nature is remarkable.

But why are we still thinking about the holiday season a month after Christmas? Well, we have a wealth of data from the past couple of months which show off some interesting trends in the public’s attitudes towards the charity sector. The festive mood is always good for putting charities front and centre, with these new figures showing that 64% of the public hear more from charities at this time of year. But we believe that these trends are also indicative of the wider climate of giving, and can help us set our expectations for the next few months of fundraising. 

Will the spirit of giving stay alive and well throughout 2023? Here are the top trends that the public’s charitable habits over the holidays reveal. 


1.   The sector continues to see increased demand

Unfortunately, the public seem to be in dire need of charities’ services. Our research shows that one in four people (25%) were more likely to seek out charities' help during the holiday season, up from just 15% five years ago.

This rising need for charities’ help over this period is in part the product of the cost of living crisis, with the impact of the cold weather and expenses of the holidays harshly impacting the public. But even as we leave winter behind us, it’s important to recognise that fuel prices are just one part of this crisis. The public are likely to need continuous support, particularly if this year has as many ups and downs as those that have come before it.


2.   Alternative giving has been on the rise

This Christmas the public were particularly mindful to the needs of others. Though charities are being stretched by high demand, our research shows that many people have been exploring new ways to make a difference. 

In fact, 22% of the public told us that they do some form of volunteering over the holidays, up from just 14% in 2017. We all have less in our pockets to go around this season, but there’s been more visibility to the dire straits being experienced by the wider public. It seems that volunteering may have become an alternative to traditional giving by would-be donors finding it difficult to make payments. This is encouraging – showing us that the desire to give is apparent, even during this difficult time. We believe that this trend may continue throughout the year.


3.   Charitable gift-giving was popular

The public may have been keen to spend less, but it’s where they were spending that’s vital to the charity sector. Charity shops saw an increase in patronage over the past year. The average number of times a person went to a charity shop in 2022 was 5.6 times, nearly a return to pre-Covid levels. This is great news for the charities that rely on these donations. Plus, an increasing number of people have been doing their Christmas shopping in charity shops, giving charities a big boost over the festive period. 

In addition to charity shop spending, more people have been keen to give and receive donations as gifts. The data shows that more than half of the public (54%) would be happy to have someone donate in their name instead of buying them a gift, up from 49% in 2018. Additionally, 43% were happy to make a donation rather than give a traditional gift, up from 40% in 2018. This indicates a growing trend of people looking to make a positive impact through their spending habits.


4.   Maintaining a healthy brand is key

As we talked about earlier this month, levels of charity coverage leave something to be desired. The public may see more from charities over the Christmas period, but the general trend is down for charity media. One slow decline over the past few years has been in how effective TV adverts are perceived to be; this year has continued that trend, with only 31% of the public now believing that these ads are effective. 

Branding strategy will be of absolute importance moving forward through the year. With trust levels in UK institutions at a low, what’s needed following Christmas is for organisations to maintain the momentum that the holidays have provided. Use the data that’s available to you and identify what you audiences respond well to; this will take your fundraising to the next level.


It's not just the holidays that make our hearts grow bigger, there’s generosity to be found all year round. Our data has shown that there’s a willingness among the public to support the charity sector despite the economy. What’s needed now is strategic engagement to benefit from this philanthropy.

If you’re interested in seeing more of our research or want to see more data that can improve your fundraising effectiveness, consider downloading a briefing pack below.

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