We are all living in tough times and the cost-of-living crisis, rising interest rates, rising food and fuel prices are making it difficult to spend money on leisurable activities or more importantly to a lot of people, difficult to give money to their favourite charities.
Many people are still giving to charities, either through monthly donations or by donating their goods, but it has been reported that people are giving less on a whim to charity collectors or to cash pots they see. In fact, nearly 5 million less of us gave to a charity this year compared to last year.
Even if you only put 50p in a charity pot, that makes for a staggering decline in donations for charities which really does have an effect on them, especially the smaller ones.
Is it that people don’t care anymore? Is it that people can’t afford to give away their money, even for a good cause? Do people see the point of giving to charity?
The cost of living crisis and our pocket
Yes, we know what you are thinking, another article that says that the country has no money to spend on things they want, only the things they need. Annoying but yes, this is exactly what this is.
It has been reported that the average UK family is £8,800 a year worst off compared to those in other countries like Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands. A lack of growth, rising costs and high rates of inequality. Meaning, the country has little opportunity to save money or spend money on what they want, not just the necessities.
Lack of growth. Economic growth is the increase in the production of services and goods comparable from one time to another. Currently the UK is in a long period of slow growth resulting from higher interest rates, reduced trade, more expensive food and more expensive energy. The slower the economy grows or the quicker it stagnates, the less an increase of real-living wages, job opportunities and jobs available. When this happens, most of the country will turn to spending on the essentials only.
Rising Costs. All around the world there has been a rise in cost of goods and services. From food prices, to shipping costs because of the rise in oil and fuel prices, which are then passed on to the customer because the manufacturer or producer has to pay more. This means that the average weekly shop in the UK has increased by around 8% from the same time last year. The rise in prices can be blamed on a number of things, from the war in Ukraine, global unease and unsettlement and the rise in ‘buy now and pay later’ on goods.
Rates of inequality. This point is difficult to explain because it is all dependant on what side of the fence you sit and your view on work and income is. It has been reported though the UK has a high rate of income equality, with the top earning fifth of people in the UK sharing 40% of the country’s disposable income compared to the lowest earning fifth of people sharing only 8% of the country’s disposable income. For those in the ‘bottom fifth’, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spend money on anything else other than essentials, even that has become a near impossible task for some.
It is clear to see when you go to put fuel in your car, go to the supermarket or treat yourself to a pub lunch that when you check your bank balance afterwards, there is a sense of dread, the thought of ‘did I need to get that?’ and the ‘should I have done that?’ feeling. It is a tough time and is understandable why less is being given to charities.
Who gives the most to charity?
It has been reported by NPTUK that 62% of people in the UK gave to charity via donation or sponsorship in the UK in 2020 and the average monthly donation in 2021 was £49. It was also reported that over 65s are more likely to give to charity than any other age bracket but it is worth noting around half the adult population of the UK across other age ranges also gave to charity (59% of 16–24-year-olds, 53% of 25–44-year-olds and 59% of 45–65-year-olds).
This is not saying that one age group is more generous than another, there could be multiple reasons for the amount people give, one of them being the amount they earn or the amount of money they have saved. It is reported by the Office for National Statistics that people in the UK aged between 60 and 64 have the most amount of money with a level nine times as high as individual who is aged between 30 and 34. This could be a potential reason why more is given by those of a certain age group, other reasons could be that they have a connection with a certain charity or because they feel at this stage of life they want to start giving back.
Cash giving has declined from 2020 onwards and the trend is continuing with more people either giving online, via contactless methods or via sponsorship. For smaller charities that may not have the resources to purchase the equipment needed for contactless donation points, receiving donations is becoming increasingly more difficult.
How much has giving to charity declined?
As mentioned earlier, nearly five million less people have given to charity in the last year. According to Civil Society, charity shops in the UK have lost over £2million in cash donations in the past three years.
Charities Aid Foundation found that in 2021 the number of people donating remains below average as the economy was reopening, a trend which has carried on into 2022 and will no doubt become more prevalent as the cost of living becomes harder for everyone.
As you can see, not only are individuals are being affected but organisations who are trying to support those in need around the UK and around the world are having to scale back what they can do because of financial restraints.
What are the effects on the charities?
As charities count the cost of the pandemic, loss of sales, loss of support and loss of donations, it is a tough time to run a charity or NGO. Campaigns and sponsorships of clubs, societies, counsellors, activities and sports teams are having to be cut back across the boards.
Charities have reserves they can use, but like everyone savings or reserves they are very finite. Once these have been run down low, the charity has to cease. Meaning potentially beneficiaries are at risk of not being supported or granted access to the services they need the most.
What can be done for charities?
The obvious answer to this is to give donations of money. But taking into consideration all of the above, that is just not practical at the moment, or maybe it never has been, but that is personal circumstances.
Charities offer a range of ways that allow people to support them without necessarily handing over any money. Simple ways of supporting a charity are:
- Follow them on social media and share their work
- Donate your unwanted clothes
- Donate your unwanted electronics
- Volunteer your time with them
Any of these ways are hugely appreciated by a charity and could mean the difference between being able to support the beneficiaries or not.
Charities around the UK are still working as hard as they can through these tough times and a lot of charities that centre their work around children and the family are seeing increasing numbers of people they need to support. With any help you can give, more charitable work can be done for those who really need it.