Charity donations at Christmas

With the launch of our Donor Pulse Winter 2022, our set of quarterly insights are complete for the year.  

The report looks at people’s giving intentions for the Christmas period, the cost of giving crisis and the overall health of charitable giving in the past three months.

So what does the data say?

Festive fundraising 

The cost of living crisis has put a strain on the public’s finances but there is still room for optimism this Christmas. Half (48%) of people say they are more likely to give at Christmas than during the rest of the year. This rises to 69% for Gen Z, making them a key demographic for charities ahead of Christmas.

In addition to young people, charities should be looking to engage with supporters who donate to good causes all year round. 83% of those who have given in the last three months plan to give at Christmas. Some of these people will be drifting donors who don’t necessarily have a set charity they give to each month.

Nearly two in five (38%) make up these drifting donors who are not yet fully committed to donating over the Christmas period. For charities this means there are opportunities to convert people to donors, as the appetite is there. Charities will also have to bear in mind that the public is not just looking to donate money over Christmas. In fact, 61% of people say they plan to donate items. Good causes will want to make sure they’re communicating their needs to supporters clearly to avoid any waste or duplication.

festive fundraising
Figure 1: Percentage of people who say they’re more likely to give at Christmas

Cost of giving levelling out? 

There is evidence to suggest that the cost of living crisis is levelling out to some extent. For the first time since the Spring, the percentage of people feeling worse off has plateaued (marginally down from 64% in Autumn to 63% in Winter). The impact though is very different depending on household income, with lower income households bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis. 76% of households with an income of £20,000 or less feel worse off, compared to 47% of those with an income of £60,000 or more. 

When it comes to the reasons behind why people are feeling worse off, energy prices still come out on top, with 78% stating this as a concern. Food prices are a close second at 68%. This then drops noticeably to rent/mortgage costs at 28% (although this did rise six percentage points from the Autumn). The prospect of recession also comes in at 28%, with the cost of running a car landing at 27%. 

The level of concern varies by age. Only 55% of Gen Z consider themselves to be concerned about energy prices for example, compared to 91% of 65-80 year olds. This reverses for rent/mortgage costs with 41% of Gen Z finding this worrying, against just 11% of 65-80 year olds and 19% of the 55-64 age group.

Figure 2: Reasons cited for people feeling worse off financially by age

“The economic backdrop remains a difficult one for charities as we close out the year, with inflation putting a strain on supporter’s bank accounts. The good news is that Christmas remains a charitable time of year, and a high percentage of people intend to donate to good causes.”

“Engaging with under 40s will be important this Christmas, as the data tells us that they’re particularly generous at this time of year. Convincing younger and drifting donors to donate to your cause will have a tangible impact on the success of your festive fundraising season.”

Chester Mojay-Sinclare, CEO & Founder, Enthuse

Donations holding up 

Donations have held up well in spite of financial hardship, with 75% of the public having donated in the last quarter. This will in part have been driven by the positivity felt towards charities around this time of year, with 31% feeling more positive about good causes in the last three months. Some of this good will can likely be attributed to the brilliant charity stories that come from events like the TCS London Marathon and Great North Run.  

When it comes to split by age, 80% of under 40s gave, with Millennials the most generous at 81%. In comparison, 72% of over 40s gave with Gen X the most generous at 74%. Online is the preferred way to give, with 46% of the public having given that way in the last three months. Donors are also spreading their donations across multiple causes, with 32% giving to three or more causes. 

The outlook for regular donations is mixed. 15% of regular donors are planning to increase the amount they give each month, but 16% are planning to either cancel or reduce the amount they give.

Building relationships with drifting donors will be even more important this Christmas and it’s not too late to have an impact. Among those very likely to give at Christmas, one in five have responded to email campaigns, and close to one in four to social media adverts. Both are cheap and quick ways to drive donations. 

Get your full copy of the Donor Pulse Winter 2022 report here for free.