Digitisation of donations means young people now most likely to give

A multiracial group of three young people smile as they look at their phones in a park

Almost half of consumers are now donating through digital channels with young people (18-24-year-olds) now the age group most likely to give to charity, a study by Barclays Corporate Banking has found.

The report – Giving: A new landscape – suggests that nine in ten (90%) people in this age group donated to charity in some form across the previous 12-month period, compared to an average of 80% among the broader public.

The most popular donation method for young givers is cash on the street (31%), followed by donations via social media platforms (24%). Over half (53%) of 18-24s and over two fifths (44%) of 25-34-year-olds said they were donating more to charity compared with two years ago, while the national average is 28%.


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Over the past twelve months, Barclays’ research shows that:

Over the next twelve months, 59% of charities are planning to make further improvements to their digital payment methods. Of these:

Cash donations are still popular with 55% of respondents saying they make them out of ease and convenience, however 48% of consumers are now donating through digital channels.

As a result, three quarters of charities have noticed a significant increase in digital donations since before the pandemic. Similarly, a third of consumers say they are more likely to donate if a charity accepts online transactions.

There has also been a surge in goods contributions to charity shops, food banks and volunteering, as some are keen to keep giving while tightening the purse strings at the same time. Three fifths (58%) of those surveyed have given goods to charity shops within the past 12 months, while almost half (49%) have spent money in charity shops over the same period.

Nazreen Visram, Head of Charities at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: 

“It’s reassuring to see the British public maintaining their support for the third sector and continuing to donate to their chosen causes despite economic pressures.


“The past two years have accelerated the need for digital payment methods and it’s no surprise that charities are investing to keep pace. Now that the younger generation is most likely to donate to charitable causes, it is essential charities offer as many payment methods as possible, including digital options such as online or via contactless payments in person.”

The report is based upon bespoke market research conducted for Barclays Corporate Banking by MaruMatchbox. It covered both consumers and charities in the UK with 2,000 adults completing an online survey focused on giving behaviour, donation levels, and barriers to giving, in Q4 of 2021. In Q1 of 2022, 75 senior managers from charities with a turnover of £4m and above, completed a telephone interview focused on implementing new technologies and donor engagement methods.