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Susan Pinkney

 E: research@cafonline.org


Over a month into lockdown, has people’s outlook shifted?

1 May 2020
On 6 April, just as we were starting to get used to lockdown, I wrote an update on giving by individuals across the UK. Fast forward almost a month and, for better or for worse, most of us are now into some semblance of a routine. But has this ‘new normal’ changed how we feel and, crucially, how do we think we will give to charity?

I noted then that a key challenge to people giving money to charity was that the British were  really worried about their household finances, with 4 in 10 (42%) telling us that they had less disposable income and that they were hunkering down to look after their finances.

This clearly posed a threat to charitable giving. But newer research from Savanta conducted on 16 April 16 showed a slight improvement in this sentiment to 38% of people reporting that they had less disposable income as a result of the crisis, whilst 12% had seen their disposable income rise. This means that while about two in five people reported a decrease, it is of some consolation that this number has dipped slightly as the UK settled in to lockdown.

Giving to charity

Another point I made in early April was around the number of people who said they would give either more or less to charity as a result of Covid-19. In late March when we conducted CAF polling with YouGov, we found that 22% said they would give more and 14% would give less as a result of the crisis over the next 3 months.

Again, as things have settled down, when we repeated the questions with YouGov from 20 – 23 April, that number increased to 26% who said they would give more and the number who said they would give less had dropped to 11%. This is an early positive sign of a shift in a good direction and something we will continue to monitor and report on.

Popular causes

In our latest research, we also repeated the questions on what types of charities people would be likely to give to as a result of the crisis in the next 3 months. We still see that NHS charities come out high at 40%, a similar level to the 42% recorded in March. Both local and national charities have seen an increase since March, from 34% to 41% and from 23% to 28% respectively. This suggests that people are starting to widen their net of cause areas to give to as the crisis continues.

Interestingly, when we asked a new question on whether people had already given to those cause areas – rather than gauging intentions - as a result of the crisis, 7% said they had for both the NHS and national charities, with 6% for local charities.

International giving

Where there is particular concern is around the number of people intending to give to international charities, which hasn’t moved since March (14% vs 13% in March). International causes also recorded the lowest level of support for people who said they had already given to overseas efforts, at just 3%.

As the crisis moves into a new phase in the UK in the coming weeks, we may see people’s focus shift beyond our borders to other parts of the world grappling with the pandemic – but for now with Covid-19 still very much on our own doorstep - this has yet to happen.

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