Percentage giving at lowest level since nfpSynergy started polling

Neon arrow pointing downwards

Percentage giving at lowest level since nfpSynergy started polling

Only 54% of the public report having given in last 3 months, and 28% say they’ve given less in last 12 months than previous years. Find out more about what this could mean for your charity in our blog this week.

Tim Harrison-Byrne and Joe Saxton

In our blog this week, we’re sharing some significant findings from our latest (August) wave of Charity Awareness Monitor (CAM) research with a representative sample of the UK general public (1,000 adults, 16+, Britain).

Our Co Managing Director Tim Harrison recently presented these findings at a Government Events Voluntary Sector Fundraising Conference; if you would like to see the charts, or learn more about our CAM research, please get in touch at

Key Findings

  • Only 54% of the public report having given in last 3 months
  • 28% say they’ve given less in last 12 months than previous years – we have never had so many people saying they have given less
  • Young people far more concerned than older people about their jobs and income
  • Buying from and giving to charity shops, on street collections and event participation are all down significantly since January
  • Direct Debits, website giving and membership have all held up well, and increased in some cases
  • The public are more concerned about the financial impact of Covid-19 on small businesses, hotels and tourism, pubs and restaurants, than charities. They are, however, more concerned about charities than airlines or banks.

Only 54% of the public report haven given in last 3 months

In August, only 54% of the public reported having given to charity in the last 3 months. This represents a 15 percentage-point drop from January alone, and the lowest level of giving we have ever recorded at nfpSynergy. The biggest drops have been among those aged 45 – 65, perhaps the age group who have felt the biggest impact from home schooling and providing support for elderly relatives. There is little to be cheery about in the data, though the AB social grade (a key fundraising demographic) has seen the lowest drop – from 79% to 70% who say they’ve given in the last three months.

Giving to and buying from charity shops at lowest levels recorded

When we looks at how people are giving, it is clear why such a small proportion of the public are giving; some opportunities to give to charity have dried up. Only 27% bought something from a charity shop in August, down from 44% in January. Only a third donated to a charity shop, down from 47% at the beginning of the year. Clearly all the lockdown spring-cleaning hasn’t translated into charity shop donations quite yet. Events have also been hammered, with just 16% taking part or sponsoring someone else to take part in an event (25% this time last year).

Regular givers thankfully holding steady

Good news might be too strong a term, but thankfully regular giving has held up – 22% report having a direct debit or standing order. Giving via a charity website has benefited from the huge shift to digital we have all experienced in the last 6 months. 18% say they gave in this way. Membership is also up slightly (15%).

Don’t stop fundraising and asking for donations

Charities have not been front and centre during the Covid-19 pandemic. The public are more concerned about the financial impact on small businesses and the hospitality industry. Trust in most other institutions such as supermarkets, the government, the Royal Mail and banks have increased, while trust in charities has remained static. The government has given nearly three times as much to the arts as it has to charities (although some arts organisations are charities too). Donors have got a huge list of concerns to worry about – their physical and mental health, their family, their finances, their jobs and the uncertainty of the future.

But in spite of this, 63% of the public believe charities should continue to fundraise. And 17% of donors expect to give more to charity in the next 12 months, compared to 12% who expect to give less. The appetite to give is there; charities just need to provide the opportunities. That will mean using the full range of fundraising channels that are still open to them; TV, direct mail, telephone and online fundraising. It means thanking regular givers for sticking with them through this very tough time. It means running more (yes more!) online quizzes. It means making shops as safe a space as they possibly can be, or moving them online.

Please get in touch with if you would like to discuss this blog or our research with the UK general public.

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