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One in four charities not set up to take donations online, new poll finds

12 May 2020

A quarter of charities in the UK are not set up to take digital donations of any kind, according to a new poll by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The poll of 385 charities comes as the use of cash in the UK has been reduced dramatically as consumers turned to contactless payments in an attempt to ease the spread of the coronavirus. One survey found that within days of the lockdown being imposed in late March, use of cash in the UK fell by 50%.

The latest CAF survey under taken on May 6-7 found that 1 in 5 (20%) charities said they are really worried about people carrying less cash and what that will mean for their charity, or how they will make up the shortfall.

The Charities Aid Foundation’s recent UK Giving report found that, by some measure, cash remains the most common way to give to charity – 53% of people who gave to charity in the last year gave cash - making it both the most popular way to give and essential for spontaneous donations to those in need.

The effect of the crisis on the bottom line of many small charities has been profound and 1 in 10 said they could not afford to buy the technology that would enable them to take cashless donations.

However, the survey also found that many charities have already moved towards digital donations with 4 in 10 (41%) saying they can accept donations through their own website and the same amount said they were set up to accept donations through other digital means such as online platforms.

A further quarter (24%) said they are already accepting contactless donations and almost 1 in 5 (18%) reported that they see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to modernise and some had accelerated their plans to shift their fundraising towards online efforts.

Susan Pinkney, CAF’s Head of Research said:

Susan Pinkney Head of Research“These results are a true worry for so many charities relying on cash donations – which are vital to charities in the UK and so many have seen that source of income disappear overnight.

“While some have been able to adopt new technology such as digital charity collection tins, the nature of this crisis means that they are unlikely to alleviate the problem as so few people are out on our high streets at the moment.

“It is very good news that some charities are seeing this as a chance to move to digital donations, but we worry about those charities being left behind at a time when their services are in such demand.”


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:

Daniel Slipper

Mobile: 07986335390


Caroline Mallan

Mobile: 07921 315 344


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