Cancer Research remains the top charity among Britons but few have embraced digital donating

23rd March 2015


The most popular charity to give to in 2014 was Cancer Research, which received donations from over half a million customers, according to the latest Halifax Giving Monitor.

The top 10 charities favoured by customers remain unchanged from the previous year, and account for 15% of the total amount donated.

No of customers (to nearest 1k) Charity
545k Cancer Research
372k British Heart Foundation
336k British Red Cross
323k Oxfam
171k NSPCC
169k RSPB
149k RSPCA
148k Barnardos
135k Save the Children
127k National Canine Defence League

But the analysis also found that despite the-ever growing number of ways to donate to charities – online, via text message or ATMs, two thirds of donors are still using cash.

The research found that given the average income is now back to pre-crisis levels, four out of five donors have given more or the same amount of money to charity compared to a year ago. However generous givers continue to favour cash donations over other methods.

In fact it seems that very few people have embraced the digital age when it comes to donating to good causes, with around only one in 10 charity donors opting to give by text, at 9% or by online giving, at 13% in the past year.

Percentage of charity donors Donation method in the last year
66% Cash
25% Direct debit
13% Justgiving/other online giving site
9% Text donation
8% By card directly to charity
2% By card over the phone
2% Payroll giving
1% ATM giving

(Base: Charity donors i.e. All ever donating to charity (1767) = 88% of all consumers)

Direct debits versus cash

The study found that only just over a third, at 36.5% of customers have donated to charity by either direct debit, standing order, credit card or faster payment in the last year. The percentage of customers giving to charity by these identifiable methods has increased by 7.3% over the 12 months, amounting to £833m. During this time, 2.8m customers made regular donations by direct debit, averaging £82 per donor.

While payments through Just Giving, Virgin Money Giving and Paypal made up just 6.7% of identifiable customer spend, this is an increase of 12% on the previous year, when only 6% of identifiable spend was through these channels.

People over 65 are the most likely to donate through their bank account, with two fifths, at 40%, of customers in that age range making a donation in this way. The over 65s are also responsible for the highest donation amounts, averaging £96 per donor compared to £60 for all donors.

Nick Young, head of Halifax Current Accounts said: “With ever increasing numbers of our customers choosing the convenience of online and mobile banking, it is surprising that many are not embracing the digital age when it comes to charitable donations, despite being a very generous nation.”

“Consumers clearly prefer the convenience of donating spare cash to charities but those who like to make more regular donations should consider setting up a direct debit or standing order. This will allow people to plan their donations by choosing the amount, date and regularity of when they are made and may allow the charity to claim the tax back on the donation through gift aid”.

The analysis also found that one in five, at 19%, of charity donors admitted to donating more in the last 12 months than they did in the previous year. Three quarters of charity donors, at 76%, are giving more or the same than they did before the economic downturn in 2008, but one in five, at 19%, continue to give less. Only 12% admitted to giving less to charity in the last 12 months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *