Half of British men do nothing for charity shows annual UK Giving Report

24 May 2016

Almost half of men in the UK do not support a good cause or get involved in social action in a typical month.

British men are failing to close the gender generosity gap as they continue to lag behind women in volunteering, donating and sponsoring, new research by the Charities Aid Foundation shows.

Three in five women (60%) got involved in some form of charitable behaviour in a typical month in 2015, compared with 52% of men.

The most popular way for people in the UK to support a charity was donating money – done by two in five of us (39%) in a typical month - followed by donating goods (20%) and sponsoring someone (9%).

CAF’s annual report on charitable behaviour, UK Giving, also reveals that the youngest generation are the least involved in supporting good causes with less than half of young adults doing so in a typical month (43%).

People of pensionable age were nearly twice as likely to have given money to charity, with 44% of over 65s having done so in the past month, compared with 23% of people aged 16 to 24.

This year’s report estimates that Britons donated a total of £9.6 billion to charity in 2015, suggesting that overall levels of giving may have fallen in the past year.

The in-depth study also found that:

  • Four in five people in the UK (79%) got involved in at least one form of charitable action in 2015. London and the West Midlands are the only regions where less than three-quarters participated.
  • Popular causes: Children’s charities were the most widely supported (30%), followed by medical research (29%) and animals (22%).
  • Typical donations: £14 is the median average charitable donation and cash is still the most common way for people to give, accounting for 55% of donations. Those most likely to donate are women, middle or upper middle class and aged over 45. Less than half of young people aged 16 – 24 (48%) donated to charity last year.
  • Charity shops: Almost half of Britons have donated goods in the past year (46%) with one in five (20%) doing so in a typical month. Women are almost twice as likely to do this as men (26% v 14% in a typical month).
  • Volunteering: One in seven people (13%) volunteered for a charity in 2015. While young people are least likely to give money, they are the most likely to give their time for free, with 19% of people aged 16 to 24 having done so. By comparison, one in ten (11%) people aged 65 or over volunteered for a charity.
  • Sponsoring: One in three of us (32%) sponsored someone for charity in 2015. Women are more likely to be sponsors but give smaller amounts (£11.38) than men (£15.13) on average. People give most to sponsored events for hospitals and hospices, which attract an average sponsorship of £34.

CAF Chief Executive John Low said:

“The UK is a nation of fundraisers and charity shop lovers with a great tradition of being among the most generous countries in the world. In 2015, four out of every five people did something to support a good cause. This huge support is crucial to the work charities do to improve people lives both at home and across the world.

“While we should rightly be proud of this track record, many of us will be a little disappointed to see that men are still struggling to keep up with women when it comes to acts of generosity. Charities need to work harder to motivate men to back good causes and, importantly in the long-term, find new and better ways to get people involved in charitable giving at every age.

“Whatever people’s interests or circumstances, we can usually find a way to support a good cause, whether it is giving money to an appeal, baking cakes, pledging time or donating unwanted clothes. Sporting fundraisers and appeals like Movember have gone some way towards getting more men and young people giving, but it is clear that more still needs to be done.”


1 The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, which helps more than 250,000 people and 3,000 businesses give to good causes, while offering financial services to support charities.

2 CAF has been producing the UK Giving report since 2004, and has been tracking giving in the UK for several decades. The UK Giving 2015 survey collected information about charitable giving from 4,160 adults aged 16 and over in the United Kingdom. In 2015, the survey ran in February, May, August and November, as a module on GfK NOP’s face-to-face omnibus study.

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