UK charity donations seen dropping for third year as trust declines

Source: by Elena Berton for Thomson Reuters Foundation, London, May 7

Charity giving in Britain has dropped for the third consecutive year amid deepening mistrust in the wake of a series of sex scandals that have rocked the aid sector.

The number of people who give to charity directly or by sponsoring a friend or family member dropped to 65 percent in 2018 from 69 percent in 2016, the Charities Aid Foundation said in its UK Giving report published on Tuesday.

“With three years’ worth of data, we can now see a clear trend in people’s charitable giving and it is headed in a worrying direction,” said Susan Pinkney, the Foundation’s head of research.

Less than half of respondents – 48 percent – said they believed charities are trustworthy, down from 51 percent in 2016.

The trend reflects the series of sexual abuse and funding scandals that have shaken the aid sector in the last year.

Charities have come under intense scrutiny since it emerged that Oxfam staff used prostitutes in during a relief mission in Haiti, sparking a scandal that widened to other aid organisations.

“If people lack trust, that means they worry that their hard-earned money is not being well spent when donated to charities,” said Pinkney.

“This is a challenge that the entire charity sector needs to tackle head on and find ways to inspire people to give and demonstrate to them that their money is making a difference.”

Although fewer people are donating, they are giving more, the study found. The total amount given to charity in 2018 remained largely the same as 2017 at 10.1 billion pounds ($13.2 billion).

The survey, which covers data collected over three years between 2016 and 2018, is based on monthly interviews and includes a yearly total of more than 12,000 individual online interviews.

($1 = 0.7659 pounds)

© Business Reporter 2021

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