Festive fundraising warning given as fewer people donate to charity

Research has found that an estimated 1.6m fewer people gave to charity over the last 12 months, with Christmas 2020 an “especially low” period for donations.

Charities Aid Foundation’s UK Giving report found that 62% of people gave to charity over the last year, down from 65% the previous year.

This is part of a steady decline in giving over the last five years, with 69% of people donating in 2016.

Donor levels were especially low during the 2020 Christmas period, which is usually the peak time for charitable giving, says the research.

Last November, less than a third (32%) of people gave via donations or sponsorship, a dramatic fall on November 2019’s figure of 43%.

CAF says that the largescale cancellation of fundraising events during several lockdowns and social distancing measures is a key factor.

But it notes that “donation levels remain low in 2021 even though most restrictions have lifted”.

The research found that an estimated £11.3bn was given to charities in 2020, up on 2019’s tally of £10.6bn.

But while £5.4bn was donated between January to June in 2019, this fell to just £4.6bn during the same period this year.

CAF chief executive Neil Heslop said: “While we rightly celebrate a rise in the total amount given to charity over the course of 2020, there has been a worrying trend over the last five years that the number of people donating continues to decline, despite the tremendous generosity we have all witnessed during the pandemic.

“Although those who give are giving more, we know that for charities to survive and be there for those they help, they rely on mass giving.”

Last week, separate analysis of festive giving, by fundraising platform Enthuse, suggests that Christmas fundraising is likely to be spread out across December in 2021. This followed a trend in 2020 for people to instead donate in the final two to three days before Christmas Day.

This research also revealed the best times of day and social media platforms to target for Christmas fundraising.

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