Charity begins in your pocket

Donations to charities have increased. Among the most popular are children’s and research organisations, which have appeal for both the young and old

Charities related to children and illnesses, notably the NSPCC and the Cancer Research Campaign, get the largest response from the UK population. Recent BMRB International research on charitable donations reveals that one-fifth of the country’s population intends to leave money to charities in their will. The report says that 39 per cent of respondents like to support children’s charities and 29 per cent will support illness support/research charities.

The survey says that the charity business is highly complex. At one end there are highly experienced salaried fundraisers and lobbyists vying for corporate money and wielding political clout, and at the other end there are unpaid volunteers, some of whom have given up careers in return for the intangible rewards of a “cause”.

The fact that some charities are brands, whose values are often perceived entirely in emotive terms, makes charities a very difficult and challenging discipline to market.

The research asks what donating money offers to people. Does it give them a warm glow? A salving of the conscience? A feeling of self-righteousness? A cost for denial of an issue? Or an absolution of guilt?

Interestingly, only one per cent of respondents say that they will support religious charities. Children’s charities top the favourites list, with women more likely to support such charities – 43 per cent compared with 35 per cent of men. Children’s charities rate most highly in the 25to 34-year-old age group at 49 per cent, and then drop to 33 per cent for the 45to 54-year-old group, with only 29 per cent of over-65s giving to charity.

Illness support/research charities are the next highest supported group at 29 per cent. Once again a slightly higher proportion of women (31 per cent) are likely to support such charities compared with men (27 per cent). There is a slightly higher proportion among 16to 24-year-olds at 32 per cent, and the over-65s with at 33 per cent.

Ten per cent of respondents support animal charities, seven per cent of the population support overseas aid charities, and only six per cent are inclined towards environmental charities.

When asked: “Which charity would you give money to, if you had &£5 to give?” The Cancer Research Campaign topped the popularity chart, with 22 per cent of respondents giving the charity their support. The support for the charity among men and women was almost identical at 21 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. But the charity was least supported by the 25to 34-year-olds. Thirty per cent of the over-65s are likely to give their support to the Cancer Research Campaign.

The NSPCC has the next highest level of support at 14 per cent. The charity is supported more by women (17 per cent) than men (12 per cent). It was most popular among 25to 34-year-olds at 24 per cent. But only eight per cent of those aged over 55 are likely to support the NSPCC.

The only other charities to be named by more than two per cent of respondents include Oxfam (supported by four per cent), Childline and the RSPCA at three per cent. The respondents named 39 charities as their first choice for the &£5 donation.

Twenty-one per cent of the population wants to leave money to a charity in their will. There is a fairly even split between men and women on the issue at 22 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

The idealism of youth versus the cynicism of age is evident in the fact that 41 per cent of 16to 24-year-olds are ready to leave money to charities in a will compared with only 14 per cent of the over-65s. In fact, 69 per cent of this age group say that they will not leave any money to charity.

Also women are less charitable than men, with 58 per cent of women saying that they are not willing to leave money to charity in their will. This compares with 51 per cent of men who do not intend to leave money to charity.

Perhaps the 25 per cent of respondents who do not know whether they will leave money to charity are in a state of denial about their mortality.

The survey also shows that 28 per cent of the population have donated more to charity this year compared with last year. Although 56 per cent of people have donated the same amount as last year, only 12 per cent have given less to charities this year.

Over a quarter of the population has increased their donations over the past year and BMRB International hopes that the economic climate does not reverse this trend.

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