Just under 5 million (4.9mn) individuals chose not to make a one-off donation last month because of the rising cost of living – nearly one in ten (9%) people, according to Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) UK Giving research.
More than 3.2mn people (6%) also said they reduced or stopped a regular payment to charity because of increasing living costs. Meanwhile, nearly one in five (19%) are considering cutting back on their donations, compared to 14% six months previously. In August, this number rose to 22% as household concerns around energy bills peaked.
The figures come from CAF’s UK Giving, which tracks household donor behaviour every month. This shows that in September, only a quarter (26%) of people said they had donated in the previous month. Prior to the pandemic, around a three in ten (30%) usually said they gave to charity in September. The average monthly donation also declined slightly in September, with a mean donation of £51, compared to £67 in August. And, this time of year being popular for fundraising events, only 8% of people sponsored someone for charity last month and 5% in August.
In addition, recent analysis by CAF and Pro Bono Economics shows how inflation is eroding the value of charity donations, with projections suggesting that a charity donation of £20 started in 2017 will be worth £14.90 by 2024.
Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“Charities need donations now more than ever, as more families rely on the vital services they provide. Mass giving is crucial for many charities, so as people cut back, Government and private sector funding which supported charities through the pandemic is greatly needed to help them through this crisis.
“With more than £500m of Gift Aid unclaimed which should rightly be with charities delivering frontline services, the process needs to be simplified to deliver desperately needed funds. The Government also needs to address the current complexity of the VAT system since it’s estimated that the sector loses billions paying tax that they cannot recover later.
“Despite falling donations, charities are working hard to help the growing number of families at the sharp end of the cost-of-living squeeze. But ultimately, charities are having to do much more, with much less money.”