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CAF IRELAND GIVING

Our Ireland Giving report provides unique insight into charitable giving in Ireland.

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charitable giving in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is one of the world’s most generous countries, ranked fifth in the recent 10th edition of our World Giving Index.

This CAF Ireland Giving report explores in depth the different ways in which people in Ireland give, and what they give to. It also analyses people’s participation in social and civic activities beyond financial donations and volunteering.

Contents

Key findings

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Amount individuals donate

The median amount of money donated in Ireland within the last four weeks was €30. The most common method of donating was cash.

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Trust in charities

More than half of people in Ireland either ‘strongly’ or ‘tend to’ agree that most charities are trustworthy.

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Individual giving

Three fifths of people in Ireland donated money to charity within the last year and just under two fifths sponsored someone for charity.
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Volunteering

Nearly a quarter of people in Ireland volunteered in the last year, with the level of volunteering higher amongst women.

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Overall participation

Nine in ten people in Ireland participated in at least one charitable or social action in the last year, and more than seven in ten did so in the last four weeks.

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Top three causes

The top three causes that people donated to within the last four weeks were homeless people, housing and refuge shelters in Ireland, children or young people and hospitals and hospices.

Overall picture of how people get involved

All those interviewed were shown a list of eight behaviours and asked whether they had done any of these in the last four weeks or the last year. The list was made up of a range of charitable and social actions.

At an overall level, nine in ten (90%) people in Ireland participated in at least one charitable or social action in the last year, and more than seven in ten (72%) did so in the last four weeks.
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Giving money

Giving money to charity is one of two main ways that people in Ireland participate, with 62% claiming to have donated money to charity within the last year and just over a third (34%) claiming to have done so within the last four weeks. Those aged 65 and over are significantly more likely to have donated money to charity within the last four weeks, compared to younger age groups (49% of 65+s vs. 25% of 16-24s).

Just under two fifths (38%) of people sponsored someone for a charity within the last year, whilst just over one in ten (13%) have given money in this way within the last four weeks. People living in Dublin have amongst the lowest rates of sponsoring someone for charity – just 8% had done so in the last four weeks, significantly less than people living in the West (17%), Mid-West (18%), South East (13%) Mid-East (20%) and the Midlands (16%).

Amongst those who donated money to charity in the last year, only 14% said that they used the S.848(A) scheme which allowed them to claim back tax against the value of their donation.

Around one in ten people in Ireland expect to give more to charity over the next 12 months (11%) whilst a similar proportion expect to give less (9%). Most people (63%) think that they will give about the same amount and 16% are not sure. Younger people aged 35 and under are the most likely to say that they will give more in the next year (19%), perhaps anticipating a higher income in the future than they have at present. Those aged over 45 are the most likely to anticipate their giving levels to stay the same (70%).

Giving Goods

After donating money, giving goods is the second most common way of participating in a charitable activity. 61% of people in Ireland claim to have given goods to charity within the last year, whilst just over a third (36%) say that they have done so within the past four weeks. Giving goods within the last four weeks is most common amongst older people (47% of 65+s vs. 20% 16-24s) and women (40% vs. 32% men).

Volunteering

Nearly a quarter (23%) of people in Ireland claim to have volunteered for a charity within the last year, with one in ten (13%) saying that they had done so within the past four weeks. Significantly more women claim to have volunteered than men within the last year (27% vs. 19%).

Across the last year as a whole, volunteering is relatively more common in the West of Ireland, where 31% of people volunteered for a charity, significantly higher than the Border region (15%) and Dublin (21%).

When looking at the last four weeks, just 2% of people in the Border region had volunteered for a charity – this is significantly lower than almost every other region and the average for Ireland as a whole (13%). The region with the highest level of volunteering is the Midlands, where 18% of people volunteered in the last four weeks.

Protesting and petitioning

Just under two fifths (37%) of people signed a petition in the last year, with 14% having done so in the past four weeks. Women (42% vs. 32% of men) and 16-24 year olds (46% vs. 28% of the over 65s) are the groups most likely to have signed a petition in the last year.

16-24 year olds are also more likely than average to have attended a protest in the last year (14% vs. 8% average), although this is the least common of all the actions included in this report.

Who engages most?

Women (92%) are slightly more likely than men (87%) to have participated in one of the activities in the last year. Although participation is very high amongst all age groups, participation tends to increase broadly in line with age.

Overall, individuals aged over 45 are slightly more likely to engage in charitable or social activities, with 92% of those aged 45+ having done so in the last year compared to a low of 85% amongst 25-34 year olds.

Frequency of giving

When asked about how often they give to charity, six in ten people in Ireland state that they usually give to charity from time to time (59%), with a further fifth (20%) giving monthly. Seven per cent give to charity every week.

We would define regular giving as those who give weekly or monthly and when looked at in this way, just over a quarter (27%) of people in Ireland give regularly.

People in Ireland tend to give more frequently with age and regular giving is highest amongst those aged 55 and over. The 55 – 64 age group in particular has high levels of weekly giving (12%), possibly linked to making donations to their place of worship. Only 1% of people in the oldest age group (65+) say that they never give to charity.
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Typical amount given

The typical (median)1 monthly amount given by Irish donors via donating or sponsoring is €30, whilst the average (mean) amount given is €112. When looking at direct donations only, the typical amount given is €30 whilst the mean is €101. The typical sponsorship amount is €20 and the mean is €82.

We often see in our research in the UK that sponsorship amounts are, on average, lower than direct donations, likely due to donors feeling a stronger emotional connection to a cause when they have personally chosen it.

What people give to

People were asked which cause area they had given to in the last four weeks and the top five causes are shown below:
Ireland Giving top causes

Who gives to what

The youngest age group are three times more likely than average to donate to causes related to conservation, the environment and heritage (21% of 16-24 year olds vs. 7% average).

They are also much more likely than average to donate to schools, colleges, universities and other education (20% vs. 9% average). By contrast, donations to religious organisations are much more prevalent amongst the older generation (34% of the over 65s vs. 18% on average).

Men and women show little difference in their support of most causes. The exception is sports and recreation charities, which were supported by 11% of men compared to 5% of women.

How people give

Those who had given money to charity in the last year were asked about the ways in which they gave, and cash (68%) was by far the most common way for people in Ireland to make a donation.

This was followed by buying raffle or lottery tickets (48%) and buying goods (38%). Giving in the last four weeks follows a similar pattern. The least popular ways to donate were by payroll giving (4%), cheque (5%), credit card (6%) and through membership fees and subscriptions (6%).
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Being asked to give

Half of people in Ireland (49%) were approached on the street at some point in the previous four weeks and asked to make a donation.

Door to door collections were the next most common way that people were approached, with a quarter (24%) having experienced this in the last four weeks.

Social circles also play a strong role in being asked to donate with 29% being asked to give by family and friends, either through sponsorship (23%) or some other form of donation (12%).

Television (20%), online (19%) and charity events (18%) were also common ways of being approached. Direct mail reached 17% of people overall, rising to a quarter (24%) of the over 65s.

Reasons for giving

Two thirds of donors in Ireland give because they care about the cause (66%) and nearly six in 10 because they want to help people less fortunate (58%). Realising that they can make a difference was a motivator for 39%, and trust in the recipient organisation played a part for 37% of donors.

Women donors are particularly likely to say that they care about the cause (72% vs. 59% of men), because they believe we all need to help solve social problems (47% vs. 37% of men) and because they want to set an example to others (28% vs. 13% of men).
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Trust in charities

Trust in charities has been discussed over the last few years, with a number of reports claiming that trust in all kinds of institutions is at an all time low. In 2019, just over half (54%) of people in Ireland either ‘strongly’ or ‘tend to’ agree that most charities are trustworthy.

Trust is lowest amongst those aged 45-54 years (45% agree) and highest amongst the under 35s (56% agree). It also varies slightly across the different regions, from a low of 50% amongst people living in Dublin to highs of 62% and 63% in the West and Mid-West of Ireland respectively.

The impact of charities

Around three quarters of people in Ireland say that charities have had a positive impact on their own local community (73%) and the Republic of Ireland as a whole (75%).

Nearly seven in ten think that charities have had a positive impact internationally (69%). Very few people think that charities had had a negative impact on any of these areas (7% or less for each).
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Method

This report is based on data collected by YouGov on behalf of CAF. In Ireland, 1,057 interviews were completed online between 6 September and 16 September 2019. The survey was conducted using YouGov’s panel partner Toluna.

The sample is nationally representative and is weighted to known population data on age and gender. Differences are reported at the 95% confidence level (the level of confidence that the results are a true reflection of the whole population). The maximum margin of error (the amount of random sampling error) is calculated as +/- 3%.

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