Almost 5m fewer people giving to charity

The number of people giving to good causes in the UK slumped over the first four months of 2022 by 4.9m, compared to the same period last year.

The figures have been released in the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)’s 2022 UK Giving Report and include donations and sponsoring fundraisers.

The period covered suggests the cost-of-living crisis, which has escalated this year with 40-year high inflation, is having a dramatic impact on charity supporters’ ability to give.

Giving figures have been in decline for the last six years, says CAF, but the latest figures show that donations and sponsorships are continuing to fall below pre-pandemic levels.

From January to April, less than six in ten (57%) donated or sponsored a good cause over the previous 12 months, compared to almost two thirds (65%) the year before.

A resumption of face-to-face fundraising following Covid lockdowns has not helped giving figures, warns CAF. Just 13% gave in this way in 2022, compared to 23% in 2019 before the health crisis.

CAF estimates that the total amount given during 2021 was £10.7bn, compared to £11.3bn the previous year.

Donations are set to slump further, with one in eight charity supporters considering cutting back on their giving over the next six months. One in 12 said they had already chosen not to make a one-off donation between March and May this year.

“This report will be sombre reading for the charity sector,” said CAF chief executive Neil Heslop.

“Despite the huge generosity shown by the public to support charities helping people in Ukraine, our research shows a very concerning trend of fewer people giving to charity overall.

“Despite the return of opportunities for fundraising events following a dampened couple of years, we have seen donation levels fall even further.

“Combined with rising living costs affecting donations to charities currently and in the months to come, this paints a worrying picture for the future of many charities who rely on mass giving.”

He urged cash strapped donors to give in other ways such as through volunteering.

NCVO policy and insight manager Sam Mercadante added: “Charities are being squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis: more people are seeking support, donations are falling, and inflation is eroding the value of income.

“Although charities are vital to help communities through this crisis, fewer people feel able to give to causes important to them.”

Last week separate research carried out by online fundraising platform Enthuse found that more than three quarters of charity donors who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis are already reigning in their spending.

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