Average amount donated per person in last 12 months:
You can download the data used in this chapter from the charts included here. This data can be reused under the Open Database License (ODbL).
The Individual Giving Survey 2020 was commissioned by NICVA in December 2019. Data collection was undertaken using a fully representative sample (n=1,024) of the Northern Ireland adult (16+) population in terms of age, sex, socio-economic grouping and area. You can find out more about the methodology here.
The findings from previous Individual Giving Surveys are presented below alongside findings from the new Individual Giving Survey 2020. Results from the Individual Giving Survey 2019 are marked with an asterisk.
The current Future Issues chapter of State of the Sector includes a section on the Cashless Giving Survey 2019, which surveys organisations rather than individuals.
On average, £168.86 was donated to charity per person in Northern Ireland during the past 12 months.
- The Individual Charitable Giving Survey 2020 found that almost three quarters of the adult population donated to charity (71%) over the last 12 months. Whilst this marks a decrease of 5% from 2019, this figure is nevertheless considerably higher than UK wide levels (57%) (CAF 2019)
- During the past 12 months, on average respondents donated £168.86 to charity. This marked an increase in charitable giving on the figure reported in 2019 which was £141.34 per person
- The proportion of charity donations were on average significantly higher amongst females (£169.39) and those in the 65+ years (£208.53) age group
- Respondents married/living with a partner (£207.54) donated more to charity than those who were single, separated, widowed or divorced (£106.31)
The Individual Giving Survey 2020 showed that respondents aged between 16-24 years (53%) were the least likely to have donated to charity in the past 12 months.
- Consistent with Individual Giving 2019, respondents aged between 16-24 years (53%) were the least likely to have donated to charity in the past 12 months whereas respondents aged 65+ (80%) were the most likely group to donate to charity
- Donor activity was more prevalent amongst respondents from more affluent ABC1 backgrounds (82%) and those living in the Greater Belfast (73%) area
Almost half of respondents (40%) reported that they intend to donate money/gift to charity in the next 12 months.
- Almost half of respondents (40%) reported that they intend to donate money/gift to charity in the next 12 months. This is a small decrease from the figure (46%) reported in Individual Giving 2019
- An almost equal proportion of males (40%) and females (41%) indicated their intention to donate or gift to charity in the next 12 months
- Respondents in the 65+ (53%) age group, those from affluent ABC1 backgrounds (53%) and those living in the Greater Belfast (48%) area intend to give to charity in the next 12 months
- Previous donors were significantly more likely to state that they intended to donate to charity over the next 12 months, with proportions rising to 55% amongst this cohort
4.1 Cash Donations
Cash (68%) was the most frequent method of donating to charity.
- Cash remains the most popular method of donating to charity, with the Individual Giving Survey 2020 revealing that 68% of donors used this method. This is consistent with the UK-wide figure (53%) where cash was also the most popular method of donation (CAF, 2019)
- Respondents aged 16-24 years (56%) and those aged 50-64 years (50%) were more likely to donate cash to charity
- Over one-third (35%) of respondents used digital means to donate to charity and this method was more frequently used by those from the ABC1 socio-economic group and those residing in the Greater Belfast area
- 16% of respondents indicated that they never donate to charity. This is proportionally higher than the the figure reported in Individual Giving 2019 (11%) and also higher than the UK (5%) average who reported never donating to charity (CAF, 2019)
4.2 Digital Donations
The Individual Giving Survey 2019 reported that 89% of donors used digital methods to donate to charity in the last 12 months.*
- Amongst the respondents who have used digital means as a method of donating, almost 9 in 10 (89%) had used this method to donate over the last 12 months*
- This activity was almost equally prevalent in females (90%) and males (89%)
- This method was the most preferred in the 35-49 years age group (95%), in those from ABC1 backgrounds (92%) and respondents living in the Greater Belfast area*
4.3 Preferred Types of Digital Donations
The most preferred digital method used by respondents to donate to charity was Direct Debit (78%)
- 78% of respondents donated to charity using direct debit methods. This was highest in the 65+ years age group (90%)
- Online giving platforms e.g. Crowdfunding (18%) and PayPal (13%) were the second and third preferred methods of digital donation
- Give as Your Earn was the least preferred method used to donate digitally to charity
4.4 One-off Contactless Payment
Almost 1 in 6 (15%) respondents indicated that they would be likely to donate more money through one-off contactless payment.
- 15% of respondents stated that they would be likely to donate more money through one-off contactless payment. This reveals a small decline on the figure (19%) reported in Individual Giving 2019
- In contrast, 57% of respondents indicated that it would be unlikely that they would donate more money through one-off contactless payment
- Donating through one-off contactless payment was more significant amongst the younger age groups. Respondents aged 16-24 years (29%), followed by 25-34 years (17%) and those aged 35-49 years (15%) were likely to donate more money using this method
- Respondents from affluent ABC1 backgrounds (23%) residing in the Greater Belfast (19%) area and those who made a digital donation in the last 12 months (28%) were also more likely to donate more money through one-off contactless payment
4.5 Reasons for Digital Donations
Respondents (51%) indicated that they donated digitally because it was an easier method to use.
- 51% of respondents who have donated via digital means in the last 12 months indicated that they preferred this method as it was easier to use
- 48% of respondents believed that donating digitally was more convenient
- Respondents (17%) believed that digital donations were safer than cash donations
4.5 Reasons for Not Donating Digitally
Almost half (41%) of those who did not donate using digital means cited that the main barrier was "concerns around security of their card"
- Of those who did not donate via digital means, concerns around the security of their card (41%), don’t use/carry a card (27%) and a lack of understanding of how digital donations worked (14%) were cited as barriers
- Smaller proportions did not use digital methodologies due to a lack of contact terminals (5%), only give on an ad hoc basis/change in pocket (4%) and don’t like Direct Debit (2%)
Almost one fifth (16%) of respondents stated that they would be more likely to give to charity if it was on a rewards basis.
- 16% of respondents said that they would be more likely to give to charity if it was on a rewards basis
- 77% of respondents indicated that it would not encourage them to donate to charity if it was on a rewards basis whilst 7% of respondents were undecided
- The likelihood of giving to charity on a rewards basis was most prevalent amongst the 16-24 years age group (23%), those from C2 (20%) and DE (16%) socioeconomic backgrounds and those who had donated within the last 12 months (18%)
The Individual Giving Survey 2020 showed that a small number of respondents (8%) had made a statement of intent to leave a gift to charity in their will.
- Individual Giving 2020 showed that a small number of respondents (8%) indicated that they had made a statement of intent to leave a gift to charity in their will (informed the charity of an intention to leave a gift but not yet added it in to the will). This marks an increase from the figure (4%) reported in Individual Giving 2019. This was most prevalent in those aged 65+ years (18%) and represents an increase from the figure reported in the Individual Giving 2019 (7%) for the same cohort
- Those from more affluent ABC1 backgrounds also reported a sharp increase from 6% in 2019 to 12% in 2020
- Only 6% of respondents had made a legacy pledge in their will. This was more prevalent in females (8%) than males (5%) and those in the higher age groups. This shows a small increase from the figure reported in the Individual Giving Survey 2019 (4%)
- A higher number of females (12%) had considered leaving a gift to charity compared to males (9%)
- Consideration levels were marginally more prevalent amongst those aged 50-64 years and more affluent respondents living in Greater Belfast
- Only 5% of respondents had enquired about leaving a gift to charity in their will. This figure represents half of those who had considered donating (11%) a gift to charity in their will
- Consistent with previous trends, those in the older age category, from affluent backgrounds in the Greater Belfast area had enquired about leaving a gift to charity in their will
Following the 2016 Referendum, respondents to the Individual Giving Survey 2019 were asked whether the amount they donate to charity had increased or decreased as a result of Brexit.
- The majority (88%) of respondents indicated that the amount they donated to charity since the Brexit referendum had largely remained the same. In contrast, 10% of respondents indicated that the amount they donated since Brexit had decreased.*
- The decline in donations was more prevalent amongst respondents aged 35-49 years (14%) and in those from C2 socioeconomic backgrounds (13%).*