One in four people do little or nothing for charity – report

13 September 2013

Action is needed to bridge the gulf in charitable giving in British society, according to 'People Power', which shows that the majority of the time and money donated to good causes in Britain comes from just nine per cent of people, while nearly one in four give little or nothing.
The new report by the Charities Aid Foundation, which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations, shows that:

  • Just nine per cent of people give 66 per cent of the time and money donated to charities – the country’s “Civic Core”,
  • 67 per cent of people in the “Middle Ground” of giving account for the remaining 34 per cent of charitable activity
  • 24 per cent do little or nothing for charity – the “Zero Givers”.

The report, published ahead of the party conference season, aims to spark a debate about ways to make Britain a more generous society by laying bare big differences in attitudes between the most and least charitable groups of people in the country:

  • 90% of the most charitable group say “hello” to people in the street, compared with fewer than two thirds (64%) of “Zero Givers”;
  • More than half (51%) of the most charitable group say most of their friends are involved in social causes, compared with just 7% of “Zero Givers”;
  • 91% of the most charitable group say it’s important that people vote, compared with fewer than three quarters (73%) of “Zero Givers”
  • Nearly half of the most charitable people (46%) believe there is a strong sense of community in Britain, compared with fewer than a third (31%) of “Zero Givers”.

The report, based on a survey by polling organisation ComRes, shows that people volunteering their time is the major difference between Britain’s most generous group and other parts of society. People in the “Civic Core” are more likely to be women than other groups (60 per cent compared to an average of 51 per cent), to be living in their own home and are most likely to have professional or managerial jobs. One in three members of the most charitable group are over 65 (an average of 33 per cent), more than in any other group in society.
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “This report raises serious questions about the nature of society in 21st century Britain.
“Britain is one of the most charitable countries in the world, yet this research shows a stark divide in society between those who do the most for good causes and those who do little if anything at all.
“It is a worrying fact that nearly one in four people do very little if anything to support charities which are at the forefront of civil society. Charities, Government and businesses can all encourage people to discover how rewarding it is to support the causes we all care about.
“At a time of ever-increasing demand for the support charities provide, all of us who stand behind these amazing organisations must rally round to ensure Britain remains an ever more generous society of which we can be truly proud.”

Download the report Britain's Civic Core

ComRes surveyed 2,027 UK adults in Great Britain between July 31 and August 1 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at

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