Should We Be Donating More To Charities?

There are approximately over one hundred and seventy thousand registered charities in England and Wales as of 2021, all striving to make a difference and advance the causes of their patrons. In doing so, most operate purely on the financial injection given from donators, which begs the question, should we be giving more?

In 2020, the average amount donated to charities per month was £27, compared with £24 the previous year, which although may not sound like much of an increase, does actually represents a 12.5% growth (Statista, 2021). Whilst this may indeed sound positive, in both 2017 and 2018 this same figure stood at £45 per month (Charity Aid Foundation, 2019). Therefore, with a 40% decrease in the amount of money donated per month to charities across the UK, which demographics are tightening their belts when it comes to giving?

Statistics show that over the passing eight years, women have consistently been more likely to give to charity than their male counterparts, however, both gender's donations have steadily declined. In 2013, 85% of women, and 79% of men were recorded to donate to charitable causes, whereas by 2021, only 67% of women, and 59% of men were as charitable (Statista, 2021). This is also mirrored in the different age groups of donators, whereby all ages from 16 - 24, to 75 and over, have seen decreases in the proportion of those who give. This is particularly prevalent with the age groups of 16 - 24, 25 - 34, and 35 - 49, who recorded a 24%, 20% and 19% decrease, respectively. This is illustrated in the table below, which represents the percentage of the population in England who gave to charity from 2013/14 to 2020/21, by age group.

(Statista, 2021)

Obviously, one must assume that the rapid decline in donations, particularly over the passing two years, can be attributed primarily to a changing economic climate, a increase in uncertainty, and a fluctuating labour market stirred up by the Covid-19 pandemic. In that time, unemployment in the UK rose to a five year high of 5.3% as a large proportion of the UK found themselves out of work. Even many who were able to retain their job found themselves furloughed, with a wage decrease that meant it was difficult to cover their monthly expenses, let alone set money aside to donate to charity. However, now that normality seems increasingly closer, and UK job vacancies have hit a record high, should we be encouraged to put our hands in our pockets and donate to the causes that matter the most to us?

To help answer this question we spoke with our very own Head of Digital, Ryan Johnson, who is an advocate for supporting charitable endeavours, having established monthly donations with several causes that matter most to him. On the topic he said 'if you are able to, setting aside a small amount of money each month to help support charitable causes is a wonderful act of generosity. I'd recommend selecting one, or more, charities, whose work you're passionate about, and then setting a nominal amount that you feel comfortable donating each month, so that it doesn't causes undue stress on your finances. However, if you feel that you simply can't afford to give financially, then why not look into donating your time? Last year, it was recorded that 23% of people aged 16 and over in England took part in formal volunteering at least once a month, which provides a viable option for those who want to help, but unfortunately feel they can't do so financially'.

Ryan concluded by adding 'over the passing year, it's apparent that charities need our help more than ever, as the fallout from the pandemic continues to put pressure on their resources. Therefore, for those who can, any help, no matter what form it takes, can make a big difference'.