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Britons shift donations to NHS charities rather than children and animals

15 May 2020

Charitable giving in the UK has shifted dramatically towards support for hospitals and NHS organisations in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic took hold as donations to children and animal welfare charities have declined.

New research from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which tracks UK household giving patterns every month, found that 35% of people who had given to charity in the past four weeks had given to hospitals and hospices – a large jump from the long term average of 21%.

The number of people giving money to children’s causes and animal welfare has dropped in the same period. In the CAF UK Giving report released in 2019 – which tracked trends across all of 2018 - children’s charities and animal welfare were the joint most popular causes to which people donated their money.

Animal charities have seen the number of people making donations in the prior four weeks fall to just 23% of donors in April, down from 31% in March, while donors supporting children’s charities have declined to 18% in April, well below the long term average of 26%.

Survey respondents singled out NHS charities, donating to feed NHS staff and supporting Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising drive as examples of how they were donating their money.

CAF’s research is based on polling of 1,105 people carried out by YouGov between April 20-23.

In addition to the big increase in money going to hospitals and the NHS, the survey also found that despite economic uncertainty and worries about job security felt by many across the country, overall levels of giving to charity has remained high, with 34% of people saying they had donated to charity in the past four weeks – up significantly from March (30%).

The UK is among the world’s most generous countries and ranked 7th overall in the 2019 CAF World Giving Index analysis of a decade of giving.

Ben Russell said:

“The British people continue to demonstrate the UK’s history of remarkable generosity and these figures are no exception.

“The willingness to help the dedicated NHS staff and the charities that support them shows the openheartedness and care the country feels towards people in great need and an inherent desire to stand with those on the frontlines.

“As we recover from this crisis, we will also need to think about how we maintain the tens of thousands of other charities working on so many issues which make a difference to all our lives because we’ll need them more than ever.”

The UK’s lockdown came at a crucial fundraising time in the year for charities. YouGov estimates that between March and May 2019 £435 million was donated to charities through sponsorship alone.

Charities have also had to face the challenges of closed charity shops, little opportunity to collect cash donations with charity tins and volunteers having to self-isolate.


Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, CAF has worked to provide people, charities and business with up-to-date details on how they can help in addition to ongoing research and policy support for the charities that people in the UK and around the world rely upon. Our dedicated COVID-19 hub offers a full list of available resources and ways to help.

About CAF

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.  CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.  We are CAF and we make giving count.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Caroline Mallan

Mobile: 07921 315 344


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