Susan Pinkney Head of Research

Susan Pinkney


Charities Aid Foundation

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Cash is king for donations to charity

14 March 2018

The Chancellor this week announced a consultation on cash and the digital economy which, as our Chief Executive Sir John Low stated, could have a ‘profound effect’ on charities.

This news came as we prepare to launch the CAF UK Giving 2018 report; based on data collected monthly by YouGov across 2017 and amongst 12,000 adults, which shows that cash remains king in the way we give to good causes.

Here are some key points, hot off the press, ahead of next week’s full report

  • More than half the UK population (55%) said last year that they donated cash to good causes. This was the most popular method among younger people aged 16-24, with almost two-thirds of whom (63%) gave this way. This shows, therefore that it is not only the older generations who choose to give cash
  • Our research shows that cash donations peak in certain months of the year, for example, November and December, where 51% of people say they’ve given this way in the last four weeks. This compares to 42% in an average month across the year. Annual charity campaigns that take place during November include the Poppy Appeal and Children in Need.
  • In 2008, the proportion of people donating cash was 47%, so while the forecast in HM Treasury’s consultation document suggests that cash transactions are likely to halve in the 10 years from 2016-26, cash donations don’t appear to have declined as a way of giving.
  • 37% of those surveyed had been asked to donate on the street – very similar to the 36% in 2016 and, although we don’t know for certain, we can assume it was cash they handed over.

The generous UK public consistently gives around £10 billion a year to charities, something that’s remained stable since we started tracking giving in the UK more than 10 years ago. We’re consistently ranked as one of the most generous countries in the world.

Although the government is not planning to change the coins in circulation, this consultation is a good opportunity for charities and the government to work together to embrace new technologies and make sure that it’s still easy for people to support the causes they care about.