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Cost of living crisis will see a quarter of people give less this Christmas, poll suggests

Melanie May | 29 November 2023 | News

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Poll data compiled for Big Give suggests that 25% of the public will give less to charity this Christmas due to the cost of living crisis.

If spread across a year, this would mean a drop of £3.2 billion, it says. 

In addition, 20% of the respondents polled for Big Give by Savanta are not planning to donate to charity at all in December. Of those who plan to give less, a higher proportion of people are in the East of the UK, followed by those in the East Midlands, North West and Wales.


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Younger individuals are feeling financially more impacted, with 29% of 18-34 year-olds and 28% of 35-54 year-olds planning to give less, compared to 19% for the 55+ age bracket.

Big Give’s annual week-long Christmas Challenge campaign started yesterday, on Giving Tuesday, and runs until noon on 5 December. This year it is looking to raise over £30 million for 1,075 charity participants. More than half of the people polled by Savanta said they would be more likely to donate to charity if their donation was matched, and Big Give has secured £15 million of match funds from a mixture of philanthropists, foundations and companies.

Last year, the Christmas Challenge raised £28.6mn for 1,021 charities with 79,000 members of the public donating. 70% of the charities that took part met or exceeded their fundraising target.

Alex Day, Managing Director of Big Give, said: 

“With over £3 billion in public donations at risk due to the cost of living crisis, we are encouraging people to give what they can, big or small, and Big Give’s Christmas Challenge will double that generous donation. Charities play a vital role in the social fabric of the UK, providing vital and life-changing services. They are in desperate need of support, and the generosity of the public alongside our match funders really does make a major difference. We appreciate it is tough times for everyone, and not everyone will be in a position to give.  Those who can’t donate can help raise awareness of the campaign so we can double the difference this Christmas.”

Separate research, this time from bank payment company GoCardless with JustGiving, found that despite the ongoing financial challenges, almost two thirds (63%) of consumers said they had donated to charity within the past few months, while 45% said they donate regularly – however, this has dropped from 49% last year.

These figures come from two surveys conducted by YouGov with nationally representative samples of UK consumers. Over a third (37%) of respondents also said they will continue to give to charity if their finances are squeezed.

Over half (52%) said they would give to a charity again if the donation process is fast and easy, and almost a third (32%) of consumers reported that they have some form of automated payment, such as a Direct Debit, set up to give to charity on a regular basis. 

Pat Phelan, Managing Director, UK&I and Chief Customer Officer at GoCardless, said: 

“Even though we’re all struggling with the rising cost of living, it’s hugely encouraging to see people continuing to give. Charities that keep on innovating, putting the donor experience first and looking for new ways to increase efficiency will stand a better chance of weathering these tough times and getting into a better position for the future.”