Number of people giving to charity falls to record low, poll reveals

The number of people giving to charity has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by industry analyst nfpSynergy, comes after recent figures revealed that the charity sector could lose up to £12 billion in income over the next 12 months.

According to the new report, the fall in voluntary giving reflects the ongoing backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest quarterly poll shows that just 60 per cent of the general public report giving to charity in the last three months – down from 69 per cent in January and the lowest level in a decade.

The research also shows a shift in the way the public is donating to good causes, with charity shop and on-street collections unsurprisingly falling due to strict lockdown measures. Predictably, charity website and text message giving have risen to their highest levels since tracking began in 2011.

Commenting on the figures, nfpSynergy said: “Our data suggests there are grounds for both deep pessimism, and for cautious optimism that the public are not yet predicting a catastrophic decline in their charitable giving in the future. Time will tell which the actual outcome is.”

The poll comes as the Chartered Institute of Fundraising forecasts that charity income is likely to fall by a quarter (24 per cent) over the coming year, representing around £12.4 billion in lost revenue.

“This new research shows that the impact of coronavirus is going to have a hugely significant impact on charity finances for the year ahead,” said Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

“With social distancing remaining in place for the foreseeable future, and an exceptionally difficult time ahead for the wider economy, the fact that the charities who responded to the survey are planning for a loss of almost a quarter of their total income is extremely worrying.”

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