It’s that time of year again! Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) have released their latest report ‘UK Giving’ which provides an overview of Charitable Giving during 2016. This year’s research is the most thorough and comprehensive yet as the sample size has been doubled – and there are plans to double the sample size again for the next report.

The report is a ‘must-read’ for fundraisers and offers detailed analysis, but the points highlighted below provide an overview for those who don’t have time to read the full report:

General points:

  • Donating money remains the main way in which people engage with charity – 61% having done so in the last year.
  • Donations peaked in November when 41% said they had donated in the last four weeks (coinciding with Children in Need, the Poppy Appeal, and Movember).
  • A total amount of £9.7 billion was donated in 2016 – on a par with 2015
  • 50% of Brits thought charities were trustworthy in 2016 – with women and young people most likely to trust them.

Who engages most?

  • Older people and women are the most likely to engage in charitable or social activities.
  • Geographically, those in Wales (92%), Ulster (91%), the South West (90%) and the East Midlands (90%) are the most likely to have done any of the charitable or social actions.

Frequency of giving

  • The majority of people usually give to charity from time-to-time (51%), with a further quarter (25%) giving monthly. The number giving monthly has decreased since 2015, from 31%, whilst the number giving on a more ad hoc basis has increased from 41%.

How much do people give?

  • The typical (median) monthly amount given by a donor in 2016, either donating or sponsoring in the last four weeks, was £18, while the mean donation was £40. Both of these levels were higher than those recorded in 2015 (£14 and £37 respectively).

Most popular causes

  • Medical research (26%), animal welfare (25%) and children or young people (24%) hospitals and hospices (22%) and overseas aid and disaster relief (19%) were the five most popular causes to donate money to.
  • Although not in the top five overall, donating to homeless people, housing and refuge shelters in the UK remained around 15% each month, though this saw a high of 22% in December. As seen in previous years, the arts (3%) and sports and recreation (3%) charities are the least popular causes given to.

How people give

  • Using cash is consistently the most common way to give to charity, with over half of all groups doing so, although it is highest amongst 16-24 year olds at 63%.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to donate through buying goods, by entering a raffle or a lottery and by attending a fundraising event.
  • Younger people are more likely to give using cash and at a fundraising event, while the oldest age group are the most likely to give using a cheque, via a direct debit, through membership fees and subscriptions, and by buying a raffle or lottery ticket.
  • Those aged 25-44 are significantly the most likely group to donate to charity online and via text.

The Brexit effect

  • Analysis in the short term shows that the result of the EU referendum has had no impact on charitable donations so far, but appears to have led to an increase in some forms of civic engagement.
  • People who voted in the EU referendum are more likely to have participated in a charitable activity than those who did not vote.


A full copy of the report can be requested here