George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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15 May 2018

People donate more than £300 million a year in loose change to charity, according to new research showing the vital role of coins in funding the work of charities across Britain.

The survey of 1,123 people, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), found that people gave an estimated £320 million in loose change to charity last year. Coins remain a vital source of income for charities, as millions of people put money in collection tins and spend cash at school and parish fairs up and down the country.

The results, part of CAF’s long running research into giving trends in the UK, come as the Government is consulting on the role of cash and digital payments in the economy, amid forecasts that the amount of cash used in transactions is likely to fall sharply in the coming years.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of women (65%) said they had donated loose change compared to 55% of men surveyed. On average, however, the men who donated loose change gave away more – an average total of £20.75 during a year compared to £10.76 given by women.

Overall CAF’s annual UK Giving survey, which asks over 12,000 people about their giving habits throughout the year, shows that although regular giving is the best way to support charities, cash remains the most popular way for people to give despite the rise of giving online and by direct debit. 

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at Charities Aid Foundation, said: 

“It’s brilliant that people donate millions of pounds a year in loose change – money put into collection tins or spent at charity stalls across the length and breadth of the UK.

“Cash is still by far the most common way people donate to charity, and nothing is easier than putting your hand in your pocket and putting a few coins into a collection. 

“But we know that overall, cash transactions are falling. So if cash becomes less and less popular in the future it’s vital that the Government works with charities and the payment industry, to make sure giving remains as easy as tapping a card or putting a few coins in a tin.”

Notes to editors

  1. YouGov polled 1,123 adults aged 16+ on behalf of CAF during March 2018.

  2. CAF has been producing the UK Giving report since 2004, and has been tracking giving in the UK for several decades. This year’s report featured 12,211 interviewees amongst individuals across the UK, up from 8,000 in 2017 and 4,000 in 2016. Interviews are carried out online by YouGov.

  3. The £320 million is an extrapolation based on the proportion of respondents giving the relevant answer in the nationally representative UK Giving survey –  in this instance the 60% of the population aged 16+ who donated loose change in the 12 months prior to interview. It is calculated using ONS 2016 mid-year population estimates for people aged 16+ in the UK: (Total number of 16+ in the UK * percentage of respondents giving relevant answer on the UK Giving survey) * median donation.

  4. CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed. CAF is a charity, a bank and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. We are CAF and we make giving count.


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