As charitable giving in Northern Ireland falls, charities are going digital to fund their vital work

24 May 2019 Dr. Helena Mc Elhinney    Last updated: 24 May 2019

NICVA’s latest survey of Charitable Giving in Northern Ireland shows that donations have fallen since 2017 but that digital giving through electronic means appears to be becoming ever more popular.

The survey showed that the number of adults donating to charity over the last 12 months has decreased from 78% in 2017 to 76% in 2019, with donations from men and those over 65 being significantly higher. While almost three quarters (73%) of respondents used cash as their main method of donating, nearly a third (29%) said they used digital means to donate to charity. Furthermore, almost 1 in 5 (19%) indicated that they would be likely to donate more money if given the option to make one-off contactless payments.

Other findings of the survey showed that the number of respondents who had considered leaving a gift to charity in their will had decreased from 16% in 2017 to 11% in 2019, and that the number intending to leave a gift to charity in their will had also decreased, from 7% in 2017 to 4%. Only 4% of respondents had made a legacy pledge in their will which also marks a decrease from the figure reported in the Individual Giving Survey 2017 (9%). The survey also reported that 10% of respondents indicated that the amount they had donated since the Brexit referendum had decreased.

NICVA’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs Geoff Nuttall said

“It is concerning to see an overall decline in charitable giving in Northern Ireland, even though giving remains high compared to the UK average.  The drop in legacy giving will be of concern to many charities for whom this is an important source of income. Looking to the future, this survey highlights the need for charities to keep up with new technologies and trends to sustain support for their vital work in a difficult climate.”

Top 10 findings

Giving to charity

  • 76% of the adult population in Northern Ireland donated to charity*
  • On average, £141.34 was donated to charity per person*
  • 46% said that they intend to donate money/gift to charity in the next 12 months
  • 73% used cash as their main method of donating to charity
  • 29% used digital means to donate to charity
  • 11% considered leaving a gift to charity in their will
  • 11% indicated that they never donate to charity

Digital giving trends

  • 29% used digital means to donate to charity
  • 89% of donors who had used digital (cashless payment) methods to donate to charity had done so in the last 12 months
  • The most preferred digital method used to donate to charity was direct debit (80%)
  • 19% would be likely to donate more money through one-off contactless payment

*Time period “in the last 12 months”

All the results from the Individual Giving Survey 2019 can be accessed here.