Charities Aid Foundation's Report: UK Giving 2019

Content Manager • 16 July 2019

      Nearly all of us turn to a charity at some point in our lives. Even if we don’t realise it, charities underpin our way of life. They provide the foundation for our cultural, religious and educational establishments large and small. They shoulder the burden of medical research, health services and support for the vulnerable in society; the disadvantaged, the young and the old.

     We rightly celebrate the enduring generosity of the UK, and they do rank among the most generous in the world. But that spirit of giving is not something that their charities, politicians and wider communities can ever take for granted.

      This year’s Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) UK Giving survey shows that yet again the key measures of giving are on a downward path. For the third year running significantly fewer people say they are giving money. The overall estimate of household giving in the UK is relatively stable in cash terms at £10,1 billion, but that is a result of a smaller group of dedicated donors giving more.

      Meanwhile, trust in charities is down once again, a trend reflected in both this research and that of others. The scale of this, interviewing around 12,000 people across each year, suggests that these trends are to be viewed with concern.

      The decline of trust in institutions is a global phenomenon, affecting all sectors. But it is something that civil society should take seriously. People are not obliged to give. They give because they are inspired, because they are touched and because they know they can make a difference.

      It is incumbent on all of us to make the case for the work of charities in all their forms – from the major institutions tackling significant national and international issues to the vast majority of smaller charities, some meeting in a village hall or around a kitchen table to tackle a local issue or meet a local need.

      Above all, charities embody a simple idea; that people come together to make the world a better place. At a time of political turmoil and economic uncertainty, that is something worth fighting to protect.

      CAF’s UK Giving report is the largest study of giving behaviour in the UK. The report is based on monthly interviews and encompasses a yearly total of c.12,000 individual interviews with the goal of assisting charities, government and wider society to better understand the UK’s giving landscape. CAF has been producing insight into giving for decades and this year’s report builds on our past research and analyses.

CAF's analysis provides these key findings for individual giving in the UK in 2018:

  • „„The number of people reporting having participated in charitable or social activities in the previous four weeks has decreased over the last three years. But with 64% of people taking part in charitable activities, participation remains high.

  • „„The proportion of people giving money to charity either by donating or via sponsorship has seen a steady decline between 2016 and 2018 (69% to 65% in 2018).

  • „„Although fewer people report that they are giving money, those who do give are giving higher amounts. Overall, the total amount given to charity in 2018 remains largely the same as 2017 at £10.1billion.

  • „„Trust in charities has decreased significantly since 2016 from 51% to 48% agreeing that they believe charities to be trustworthy.

  • „„In 2018 children/young people and animal welfare jointly lead the list of the causes people say they donate to, with 26% of people saying they gave to each of those causes in the past month.

  • „„Peak months for giving money are November and December. This has become a yearly pattern largely due to established fundraising campaigns over these months – these are also the main months for donating with cash.

  • „„Fewer people say they have been approached to donate money than in previous years in a variety of ways: on the street, door to door and particularly direct mail (fallen from 28% in 2016 to 23% in 2018).

  • „„Rates of volunteering remain stable, as do the proportion of people giving goods to a charitable cause.


For more information, please see the report attached below. 

The content was originally authored by the Charities Aid Foundation, posted on in May 2019. 

Photo Credit: Peter Andrusyszyn


The views expressed in the blog and report are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.