You may not have even thought about this, or you maybe someone who might be getting tired of the numerous adverts and appeals for charities where you don’t necessarily see where the money is going.
Do you already to donate to a charity? Have you just stopped donating to a charity? Or are you looking for a new charity to donate to?
Do you automatically skip an ad when you see that it is a charity ad? Do you switch the channel when another charity advert comes up? Maybe, you watch it anyway but are left feeling annoyed at it. Maybe you don’t give to charities now because you feel there are too many and feel like you have to?
Do you think there is too much pressure to give to charity today?
How many charities are there in the UK?
According to Charity Excellence, there are a total of 412,396 charities and 488,731 non-profit organisations in the UK. Animal welfare is the most popular cause to give to whilst children’s charities are the second most popular cause to give to in the UK. It has been reported that in a typical month, around half of the UK’s population donate to a charity and around 70% give at least once a year to charity.
400 thousand charities does seem a lot doesn’t it? Well it is, but unfortunately there is still such a need for charities that serve causes both in the UK but also around the world that this huge number is needed for all different reasons.
Do people still trust charities?
Though in the last few years there has been some pretty scandalous news stories about certain charities in the UK and around the world, it is refreshing to see that people’s trust in charities is again on the rise.
In 2021, it was found by Giving Britain – Good Agency that over half of Britain had lost faith in charities and think they are too corporate, too political and see as donating to charities as a ‘bottomless pit’ of money where charities are always needing more. This was pretty damning for charities around the UK and there was a drop in nationwide giving. Following on from the UK’s departure from the UE, it was found that people around the UK found charities were becoming too political and wanted them to stay out of politics and concentrate on the causes they support.
Thankfully for charities, this view has started to be reversed. According to a study done by the government, trust in charities by the general population has risen since 2016 but seemed to have plateaued in 2021 with a mean score of 6.4 out of 10 people having trust or confidence in charities. In 2022 this lowered slightly again to 6.2 out of 10 people.
Why have people lost faith in charities?
Some people have said that they can see how much money is given to a charity on the Charity Commissionwebsite and still see there are so many problems around the UK and around the world. Others say that they look into the top earning bosses of charities and question why they are on so much when there is still so much work to be done.
It could also be due to the recent scandals in the press about some larger charities and their conduct in places where they should be helping.
Another view is that people are fed up with the number of adverts for charities there are on TV, radio, social media and as adverts on apps. Some people are so fed up by it that they have even petitioned government to reduce or get rid of charity ads altogether, though the amount of people who had signed the latest and now closed petitions was always less than 100 people.
How much charity advertising is there?
It doesn’t take a statistician to see that there a lot of charity adverts pretty much everywhere you look. On TV, on apps, social media, magazines and billboards. Though there is not an actual number of how many ads there are and how often they are shown, this is because it varies from platform to platform and broadcaster to broadcaster.
Advertising has become a lot easier now-a-days because of easy access to social media and other platforms that can go viral in a second. It is at the same time seen a blessing and hinderance for both charities and public. The charities get more exposure but they can in turn annoy some people by the constant viewing of charity content.
It has been reported that charities in the UK spent a combined amount of £110 million on advertising in 2018. That is a huge amount of spent in one year. Roughly, that equates to £270 per charity spending on advertising, but in reality, because of the size of the majority of charities and their spending budgets, this budget would have been spent by the highest earning charities in the UK.
Why do we see so much of charities in everyday life?
The simple answer is that they are needed. Needed a lot. With the current cost of living crisis, war in Ukraineand rising energy prices; there is no end of people who are in need of help.
You may not watch or listen to the adverts anymore but the reason for the amount of charity adverts that are shows in the UK is because there is still a dire need for them.
We see charities not just in adverts but also on street corners, the high street at events, on programmes and in our emails.
Charities have to get the word out about themselves to ensure that those they are helping get as many resources, support and exposure as possible. This may grate on some people but their reasoning is not self-serving but altruistic. Because the need for charities in the UK is so great because of so many factors, it doesn’t look that any time soon that we will see any less of them.
This raises another question about how charities do or should conduct themselves…
Should charities be limited to how much they advertise?
It has been called on by many people to limit the amount that charities can advertise in the UK but this has not as of yet seen fruition.
Charities and public image
It has been noted by some charities that over exposure it is actually damaging to their cause rather than benefitting it. They understand that the use of ‘over the top’ imagery that has caused some to be offended or put off from giving to a charity.
It has also been noted that charities and their use of imagery has helped to perpetuate a negative stereotype of certain peoples and have inadvertently created a larger problem or made an existing problem worst.
Though some very realistic imagery is used by charities and is good at showing an honest depiction of social problems, charities are more and more using less harsh images to get their message across instead. This change has come a welcome change by members of the public who say that the use of shocking images makes people want to stop watching or not give to the charities.
Using Save the Children’s change of imagery as an example, the change of the use of imagery has been successful in gaining a positive response from audiences. One person from a study saying, “we found that audiences have moved on and they are not engaging with that kind of imagery anymore – the guilt trippy, very stereotyping, very othering, hopeless images that leave somebody feeling sad and like a situation might be futile. That tone of image just doesn’t cut through anymore.”
It was also found that images of those who were being supported looking more empowered rather than looking down-beaten received a better response by audiences.
As you can see, charities have to continue to learn and adapt to the best ways of gaining people’s support and ensuring that people for one aren’t offended and also willing to support them.
At the end of the day, charities are nothing without those who support them or without those individuals who volunteer for charity. Without people finding out about charities and then giving their support, children, the homeless, animals, people living with disabilities, environmental projects and those who are victims of abuse, would not get the support they need and would not get access to the correct services.