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CIOF asks how can we grow charitable giving in the UK

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Charitable giving in the UK is facing a twin challenge, according to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. Fewer people are donating to charity, and fewer people are being asked to give. So the Institute has launched a project to explore how to grow giving.

Many people are giving to charity and plenty are giving more than they used to, especially in response to COVID and the cost of living crisis. And skilled fundraisers are inviting and inspiring many of them to do so.

But the billions being donated are coming from a shrinking proportion of the population.

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So the Chartered Institute is asking the questions:

The aim of its project is to understand how to grow giving in the UK by inspiring more people to donate.

SEE ALSO: Giving Nation to continue beyond The Giving Campaign (31 March 2004)


It is beginning by asking its members for their insight and views. “As fundraisers you are the people closest to donors and the public,” argues the Institute in its announcement of the project. It added that its members would be the ones with “first-hand insight and evidence of how people are responding to fundraising and why giving behaviours may be changing”.

Number of donors is decreasing

Charities Aid Foundation’s UK Giving research revealed in 2022 that fewer people had been making a charitable donation since 2019. Throughout 2021 donation levels in each money were lower than their 2019 equivalent.

Similarly the UK government’s Community Life Survey found that in 2021/2022 about 30 million people in England donated to charity, compared with 33 million before the COVID pandemic.

Fewer people being asked to give?

The Institute is focusing on one area that might be addressed, asking if the decline in giving has been caused by a decrease in asking.

CAF also found that in 2021 32% of people were not asked to give to charity at all. This is an 11 percentage point increase from 2016.

Yet this contrasts with the UK population’s evident desire to give and support the causes that matter to them. Giving in response to the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, national and international disasters, the war in Ukraine, climate crisis and the fight for racial justice is still buoyant.

Insufficient investment in fundraising?

The Institute poses the question as to whether fewer people giving and fewer people being asked to give come down to a lack of investment in fundraising.

So its new project includes exploration of the link between investment in fundraising and the decline in giving. But its remit is wider than that.

How to take part

The Institute tells it members that “we’ll create as many opportunities as possible for you share your views with us”. These include:

Specific questions

The Institute has provided several questions to indicate the kind of contributions they are seeking:

More on growing giving

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About Howard Lake
Howard Lake is consultant editor of UK Fundraising. He founded the site in 1994 and successfully sold it in 2022. As director of Giving X Ltd he is exploring growing giving on a massive scale. He is the founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.

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