Public donations to fall by £1bn over the next year, online fundraiser warns

Public donations to charities are set to plummet by around £1bn over the next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes as Britons tighten their belts and have less disposal income due to financial uncertainty and unemployment following the outbreak.

One in ten say they will stop giving to charities altogether amid fears around an impending recession.

A further 13% say they will have to cut donations in half.

The figures have been revealed in a survey by online fundraising platform Omaze, which estimates the total loss to the charity sector over the next 12 months, due to the dip in public donations, could be around £830m.

This is based on Omaze research into the amount of money currently being donated by the public, which is £5.1bn

Omaze’s research found that 84% of UK adults donated to charity in the past year, with a quarter giving to a good cause more than five times. The average Briton donates more than £90 a year to charity.

Regional differences have also emerged with Coventry proving the most generous, with people there donating an average of £147.30 each over the last 12 months. The "meanest", according to Omaze, are people in Aberystwyth, who donated an average of just over £22 each last year to charity.

"It's understandable that people are worried about their spare cash with an impending recession hanging over us. That's why it is more important than ever we find new ways to keep people giving," said Omaze senior vice president James Oakes.

Other findings are that men (£97.65 a year) give slightly more than women (£84.21).

The most generous age group among charity supporters is 35-44-year-olds, who give £105.66 on average a year, compared to £88.88 from 25-34-year-olds and £90.74 a year on average from 45-54-year-olds. Charity donors aged over 55 give on average £90.98 a year.

Shrinking charity sector

The findings come as a number of charities reveal substantial income losses already this year. This is mainly through shop closures and cancellation of fundraising events due to social distancing measures.

Among those to announce cutbacks amid an income drop are Bowel Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK.

Earlier this month National Council for Voluntary Organisations chief executive Karl Wilding warned that a reliance on public fundraising has left charities vulnerable financially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NCVO’s latest almanac found that government income as a proportion of total charity sector income is at its lowest point, with public fundraising driving overall income growth.

“Worryingly in the context of coronavirus, a notable proportion of this growth has been from earned income from the public – precisely the area that is most vulnerable to the effects of social distancing restrictions,” said Wilding.

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