An estimated 15 million people gave money to animal charities last year – more than a quarter of the UK’s population, with an average monthly donation of more than £20.
This makes it the most popular cause for donations, according to research from Charities Aid Foundation.
Nearly three in ten donors said they had given to this cause area in the past four weeks when surveyed in 2021 according to CAF’s UK Giving report.
Animal welfare has been the most popular cause since 2018, when it first shared first place with children or young people. Since then, it has consistently been at the top, with the proportion giving to animal welfare increasing from 26% in 2018 to 28% in 2021.
The average monthly donation made to animal welfare charities has also increased over the past five years to June 2022. In 2016, the average donation was £12.23, rising to £14.59 in 2018 when it emerged as the most popular cause, and reaching £20.52 in recent months. Donations to animal charities accounted for 9% of the total value of donations given to charity in 2021.
Following animal welfare, the next most popular causes are children or young people (23%) and medical research (21%). However, according to CAF’s figures, the numbers choosing to donate to these cause areas have been falling since 2019.
Alison Taylor, CEO of CAF Bank and Charity Services, Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“Donating to animal charities can be seen as a way of protecting a vulnerable group, given animals are effectively voiceless and have few rights or laws protecting them. This cause is also diverse, incorporating the protection of wild animals as well as pets.
“This cause area can also include supporting environmental charities that protect the habitats of animals worldwide, including endangered species.”