Public giving at all time low, research reveals

Public giving is at its lowest level since data on donations was recorded, the think tank nfpSynergy has revealed.

Just 54% of the public has given in the last three months. This is a 15 percentage point drop from January “and the lowest level of giving we have every recorded,” said a statement from the think tank’s co managing director Tim Harrison and founder Joe Saxton.

The latest figures reveal that a quarter (28%) of people have given less in the last 12 months than in previous years. “We have never had so many people saying they have given less,” added Harrison and Saxton’s statement.

Economic insecurity amid the Covid-19 pandemic is a key factor, according to the think tank.

It found that young people are more concerned than older people about their jobs and income.

While charity retail sales improved over summer, charity shop trade, on street collections and event participation are all down significantly since January.

Charities’ financial security is seen as less important than the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses, hotels and tourism, pubs and restaurants. But the public is more concerned about the finances of charities than those of airlines and banks, said nfpSynergy.

Online opportunities

NfPSynergy did find that pivoting fundraising online is a worthwhile tactic. Direct debits, website giving and membership “have all held up well, and increased on some cases”.

In addition, there is widespread public support for charities to continue to fundraise amid the health crisis. Around two thirds (63%) of the public want to see charities fundraise.

The think tank also found that while 12% of the public expect to give less over the next year, 17% expect to five more.

“The appetite to give is there; charities just need to provide the opportunities,” said Harrison and Saxton.

“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.”

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