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Individual giving drops by 11%

Voluntary donations by the public to the UK’s 170,000 charities have dropped by £1.3 billion or 11% according to UK Giving 2009, published by Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The figure is based on a survey of 3,316 UK adults, carried out in June and October 2008 and February 2009, and which forms part of the Office of National Statistics Opinions (Omnibus) survey.

The survey found that the median amount donated per month was £10 per person in 2008/09, a decrease of £1 on the previous year.


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The number of adults in the UK who donate to a charity each month has dropped by two per cent to 54 per cent, or around 774,000 people.

The respondents said that medical research (20 percent), hospitals and hospices (15 percent) and children and young people (14 percent) were the most popular causes.

The most common method of giving is cash, with nearly half of donors (48%) giving that way, and around a third of donors (31 percent) giving via direct debit.

Donations by Gift Aid are still not as high as they could be. Only four in ten donors Gift Aided their donations. This means that CAF’s estimate that around £750 million of Gift Aid goes unclaimed on donations still stands.

Stuart Etherington, CEO of NCVO, took a positive view of the results, saying: “Inevitably the recession is having an effect on charities, and on the levels of giving. But it would be wrong to predict the collapse of the sector because of the current climate.

“It is reassuring to know that the public are continuing to support the vital work that voluntary and community organisations do in local communities across the country. We would like to thank people for their on-going generosity.”

CAF Chief Executive John Low added: “Even though there are welcome signs the recession is technically ending, the economic downturn is still severely impacting charities, many of whom have had to cut jobs while facing increased demand for their services”.

He reiterated his call for donors to give more tax-efficiently: “If all taxpayers tick the Gift Aid box, or give through Give As You Earn it would go a long way to make up the shortfall in funding without costing them a penny more.”

UK Giving 2009 can be downloaded from