About Charity Street III

Charities are central to everyone’s lives. They provide myriad benefits to people of all walks of life: practical help and advice; medical support and care; ways to bring communities together; places to learn; places in which to relax and enjoy.

This report tracks the use of charitable services by households and individuals in 2018 compared to 2016's Charity Street II report and the original Charity Street report published in 2014, and provides detail on how the UK public perceive charity. It shows just how widespread the use of charity is, and how they are considered a key voice in tackling some of the biggest issues that society is facing.

Key findings from Charity Street III

  • The use of charity is widespread – the report finds that nine in ten UK households have used a charity at some point, and around three quarters (74%) have used a charity service in the last 12 months.

  • Although widespread, use of charities has declined in 2018 – 2016 saw a spike in charity usage. This year however, rates have returned to levels in line with, or lower than, 2014.

  • Whilst fewer households are using charities, those who are, are using more of them, more often. Households which used charities in the past 12 months used an average 3.8 services, compared to 3.0 services in both 2016 and 2014. They also use them more frequently.

  • Women and younger people are more likely to have personally used a charity. Women are more likely than men to have personally accessed a charity in the last 12 months (75% women vs 65% men), and in the last month (48% vs 41% of men). 18-24 year olds are more likely to have accessed a charity in the last 12 months (78%) and the last month (64%) than any other age group.

  • Households which use charities perceive a wide range of benefits to doing so – most commonly this is having an enjoyable / fun experience (17%) or receiving emotional support or counselling from a charity service (15%).

  • People are often not aware they are using a charity – almost 3 in 10 (29%) were unaware that the service they or someone in their household had used was provided by a charity.

  • Charities are best placed and most trusted to speak on behalf of the disadvantaged – 67% felt that charities were best placed to speak on behalf of disadvantaged people and 56% said they most trusted charities to do this.