Individual Giving in Northern Ireland 2014

NICVA’s latest research into charitable giving in Northern Ireland examines change in the percentage of individuals that donate, donation by age, the causes donated to, fundraising techniques, methods of donation and legacy giving.
Individual Giving Infograph 2014
PDF icon Individual Giving Infograph 2014790.99 KB

NICVA’s Individual Giving Survey 2014 is the next in a series of research which examines trends of charitable giving in Northern Ireland. This research highlights the following;

  • changes in the percentage of individuals that donate,
  • donation by age,
  • the causes donated to,
  • fundraising techniques,
  • methods of donation and legacy giving.

Download the Individual Giving Infographic

The survey dataset can be accessed on the Detail Data Portal

This research was conducted between February and March 2014. Ipsos MORI was commissioned to carry out the survey in March 2014. A representative sample of 1,010 adults in Northern Ireland aged 16 and over were interviewed face-to-face regarding their donations to charity over the previous four weeks.

The sample was generated using probability based stratified random sampling, ensuring that the sample is representative of the Northern Ireland population in terms of key variables such as age, gender, marital status, working status, religion, social class, and geographical area. Where possible, this summary has made comparison to NICVA’s Individual Giving Reports published in 2010 and 2013.

The percentage of those that donated in the previous four weeks has decreased by nearly 17% since 2013. This report found that 56% of respondents made a donation in the previous four weeks compared to 73% in 2013. There is a decrease in the percentage of individuals that donated in each age bracket, the most notable of which is with regard to 16-24 years where there is a 28% drop in the population in this age group donating.

An explanation as to why the results in this report are not as positive as those in 2013 could be that when the 2014 survey was undertaken no large fundraising campaigns were running.  In 2013 however, several fundraising campaigns including ‘Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day’ and the ‘Trócaire Lenten Appeal’ were running when the survey took place. A further explanation may be due to the adverse publicity for some charities over the past year with regard to their investment of funds.

Andrea Thornbury, researcher at NICVA said, “In general people in Northern Ireland remain very generous in their support for charities. The kind of issues and organisations people give money to, such as health, faith based organisations, and children and young people has remained the same for almost ten years.  We carry out the survey into Individual Giving in Northern Ireland every year. An annual survey has the advantage of giving us up to date data, which is crucial to help organisations in their fundraising strategies, but the downside is that any spikes or changes can seem more pronounced.  Last year we saw a spike in the amount of money young people were donating and this year it’s a decrease in number of young people donating.

“We think that’s because last year’s survey was carried out just after Comic Relief and during the Trocaire Lenten campaign – both of these campaigns are brilliant at encouraging people to donate.  However we can’t ignore the fact that less people are giving now than last year and this is a trend we will keep a close eye on. Charities in Northern Ireland are really creative when it comes to fundraising as events like last weekend’s Giant Water Slide for Cancer Research UK in Derry’s Shipquay Street proved, and our fundraising advice to members is that they always need to use a broad mix of fundraising methods.

"Another interesting point from this research is that despite all the developments in on-line giving, cash donations are still the most popular way of donating money in Northern Ireland.  We are going to use the next survey to explore this more and look at the impact of online or viral events like the ice bucket challenge and no make-up selfie.”

Summary of main findings

Demographics of donors

  • There has been a significant drop in the percentage of individuals who donated to charity in the previous four weeks compared to the research undertaken between 2013. 73% of individuals claimed to have donated to charity in the 2013 research compared to 56% in this report.
  • A continuing trend in the research is that women are more likely to donate than men; however the percentage of those that reportedly donated has decreased. In 2013 76% of women and 71% of men made a donation compared to 58% of women and 53% of men in 2014.
  • There has been a significant decrease in the percentage of 16 to 24 year olds that have donated to charity. In 2013, 72% stated they had made a donation in the previous four weeks compared to 40% in this report.
  • Individuals living in Belfast City and County Armagh are most likely to donate; with 57% of respondents in each region donating in the previous four weeks. Fewer individuals in country Tyrone and Fermanagh donated (34%).

Donation by cause

  • A common trend has emerged with regard to the top charitable causes donated to; individuals reported that the most common causes they donated to include health (10%), religious/faith based organisations (9%), hospitals and hospices (9%), children and young people (9%), medical research (8%) and animals (6%). These results are comparable to the 2010 report which found religious and faith based, children and young people, medical research and health causes were the most popular causes donated to.
  • The main reason why individuals donated to health and to children and young people causes in the previous four weeks is out of concern for others (35% respectively). One third of individuals that donated to hospitals and hospices did so for the same reason.
  • Unsurprisingly, 50% of individuals who donated to religious/faith based organisations did so for religious reasons.
  • 23% of individuals that donated to medical research did so for personal reasons. A further 23% stated that they donated to this cause out of concern for others.
  • The two main reasons why individuals donated to animal welfare causes are due to an affinity for the charity due to personal experience (17%) and out of concern for others (16%).

Fundraising techniques

  • When examining fundraising techniques this research found that individuals are more likely to make a donation for a personal reason such as being asked to donate by a family member. 16% stated that this was why they donated.
  • The second most common reported technique was spontaneous giving (13%).  Street fundraising (10%) is also a successful fundraising technique.
  • The least successful fundraising techniques, according to the results of the survey, are email, billboard and cash machine campaigns, with only 1% of individuals using this technique to make a donation.

Method of donation

  • Another common trend which has emerged from this research found that donating by cash continues to be the most common method of giving. In 2010 49% of individuals made a donation using this method however this has slightly decreased to 42% in this research.
  • The second most popular method of donation is through direct debit with over one fifth of respondents (21%) making a donation in this way. This is comparable to 2010 when 20% used this method of donation.
  • The methods least used by individuals include telephone donations, donation through email, a gift in lieu, by cash machine, by text/SMS or by sponsorship with only 1% of individuals donating through each of these methods.

Legacy donations

  • This research found that only 2% of individuals have made a legacy pledge.
  • 95% reported that they have no plans to leave a legacy but 3% said they would consider doing so.
  • Individuals were asked a range of questions as to what would encourage them to consider making a legacy pledge. Nearly two thirds of individuals (66%) stated that none of the options would encourage them to make a pledge. However 9% said they would consider making a legacy pledge if charities outlined how it would be spent.
  • A further 9% said that better communication on legacy giving would encourage them to make a pledge.

This is the second stage in this research which specifically examined changes in the percentage of individuals that donate, donation by gender and age, the causes donated to, fundraising techniques, methods of donation and legacy giving. The next stage of the research will take place in April 2015. NICVA would welcome any suggestions with regard to what else should be included in this research and we are keen to hear about other research into giving in the sector. To make suggestions please contact Andrea Thornbury at [email protected].

Individual Giving 2014 Launch
Pictured l-r: Andrea Thornbury, NICVA; Jonathan Smyth, NI Hospice; Sandara Kelso Robb, Giving NI and Una McKernan, NICVA


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