Study charts impact of EU referendum on charitable donations

Written by Matt Ritchie

Brexit has had no effect on donations to charity in post-referendum Britain, according to a new study.

The Charities Aid Foundation’s annual UK Giving report found that charitable donations held steady at £9.7bn last year. Month-by-month monitoring revealed the EU referendum had no influence on people’s reported giving.

CAF’s survey of 8,000 found 89 per cent did something charitable last year, up from 79 per cent in 2015. Sixty-one per cent of respondents had donated money, 56 per cent had given goods to charity, and 17 per cent had volunteered.

The median average contribution for a charitable donation or sponsorship was £18. Cash was the most common way for people to give, with 58 per cent of people having donated in this way. Just over a quarter of respondents gave online.

Medical research was the most popular cause, with 26 per cent of people having given to these charities last year. Animal welfare charities attracted support from 25 per cent of respondents, and children and young people’s charities were supported by 24 per cent.

Those who voted to Remain in the referendum were more likely to participate in every charitable or social action than those who voted to Leave, with the exception of giving goods to charity which 58 per cent of both groups reported having done.

While the referendum did not appear to have had an effect on charitable donations, CAF’s research indicated a high level of participation in social action via attending protests and signing petitions.

CAF chief executive John Low said the consequences of the referendum will become clear over the months and years ahead. But the “reliable and enduring” generosity of the UK public remained consistent despite the political upheaval in 2016.

“Numbers of people who said they signed a petition or took part in a protest or demonstration last year are the highest recorded in more than a decade of us producing this report,” Low said. “We know that people increasingly feel they want to make a difference and many see charities as a way to achieve that. Charities already play an integral role in the lives of so many. At this critical time in our nation's history, their importance is only likely to increase.”

Access the report here.

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