UK Donations Steady Since Brexit Vote

Uncertainty has shrouded UK charities following the June 24, 2016 vote to exit the European Union. Early indications, however, indicate that the Brexit referendum has done little to affect giving – with Brits donating £9.7 billion in 2016, up slightly from £9.6 billion in 2015. The sum, when factoring in the margin for error, shows little or no change in giving. The figure lags behind 2010’s high-water mark of £11.6 billion, according to Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) report – CAF UK Giving 2017 – but is in-line with figures from recent years that have kept within the £10 billion range.

The giving survey started 2016 based on 1,000 quarterly, in-person surveys before transitioning into a monthly, online survey of 1,000 respondents each in May 2016. The rate of having given in the past four weeks averaged 33 percent post-Brexit, topping off at 41 percent in November. The giving rate in the month prior to Brexit was 30 percent. The report also showed that those who voted to remain in the EU were more likely to engage in charitable or social action (93 percent) than those who voted to leave (87 percent). Both groups were more likely to participate than those who did not vote (82 percent).

Overall, the median monthly amount given by a donor in 2016 was £18, while the mean was £40. Both figures were increases from 2015, which posted £14 and £37, respectively. The median gift topped out at about £20 in May, July, October, and December, according to the report, while falling to about £15 in June and November. The mean gift bottomed out at £33 in November, the month of greatest frequency of giving, and topped off at £49 in December. Geographically, Londoners provided the largest mean donation, £58, while those in Ulster had the lowest, £27.

Medical research organizations (26) percent were the most common type of charity to have been donated to in the four weeks leading up to a survey. Organizations whose missions center around animal welfare (25 percent), children and young people (24 percent), hospitals and hospices (22 percent), and overseas aid and disaster relief (19 percent) followed close behind. In terms of portion of overall dollars, religious organizations (20 percent) and overseas aid disaster relief organizations (10 percent) received the largest shares of the pie.

Organizations dedicated to children and young people, medical research organizations, and hospitals and hospices each received 8 percent of overall dollars. Conservation organizations and animal welfare charities each received 7 percent of funds.

Donating money was the most common way Brits gave in 2016, with 61 percent reporting that they had given in the past year. Other popular ways Brits donated or participated in 2016 included giving goods to charity (56 percent), signing a petition (56 percent), sponsoring someone or a charity (37 percent), buying an ethical product (27 percent), and volunteering (17 percent).
Other key findings from the report included:

* Donating cash was the most popular means of monetary donation (58 percent) among Brits and particularly popular among those ages 16 to 24 (63 percent). Buying good and raffles and lotteries were also very common at 40 percent each. More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents reported making a donation online – topped by those ages 25 through 44 (32 percent);

* The number of monthly givers decreased from 2015 to 2016, 31 percent to 25 percent. The number of those who gave on an ad-hoc basis increased, however, from 41 percent in 2015 to 51 percent in 2016; and,

* Trust in charities remained consistent post-Brexit. The percentage of respondents who strongly or tended to agree that charities are trustworthy stood at 49 percent in May of 2016, the month before the referendum. That percentage fluctuated between 47 percent (December) and 53 percent (November) through the remainder of the year.