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Covid sees older age groups rein in donations

Melanie May | 27 May 2021 | News


The percentage of people saying they have recently donated to charity dropped to 55% a year into the pandemic, from a pre-Covid 69%, data from nfpSynergy has shown.

In January 2020, when nfpSynergy asked the British public whether they had donated to charity in the previous
three months. 69% said they had, which largely correlates with previous trends seen by nfpSynergy across the decade. However, the pandemic’s impact saw this fall to 54% by August 2020, rising slightly to 59% in November 2020, before dropping down to 55% in March 2021.

While there is little differentiation between male and female, nfpSynergy’s data shows a different story in regards to age. While younger age groups have remained quite stable in their giving, there have been significant drops among those aged 35 and over.


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68% of 16-24-year-olds said they had donated pre-pandemic, dropping slightly to 61% as of March this year. For 25-34-year-olds the percentage remained stable at 64% this March compared to 65% in January last year.
However, while 71% of those aged 35-44 said they had donated pre-pandemic, that figure is now at 53%. And, whereas 71% of 45-54-year-olds said they had donated pre-pandemic, this has now dropped to 41% with a similar story across the other older age groups.

Looking forward, overall by March this year, 40% of the public said they forecasted making cutbacks in donations across the next 12 months. However, this is behind the percentage expecting to reduce spending on eating out, holidays, large purchases, clothing, and petrol. Eating out (58%) and holidays (53%) were top of the list.

The full findings can be read in nfpSynergy’s report, The Donation Deficit: How the pandemic has shaped charity donations.