Charity donations are falling as the nation hits tough times – and older women are the most generous, a new report showed yesterday.
Some charities are facing a worrying financial black hole, and are being forced to cut back frontline services and sack staff – while some even face closure.
The coalition Government said when it started making huge cuts to public spending that charities would benefit from its Big Society plans.
But the survey from the Charities Aid Foundation and National Council for Voluntary Organisations found public donations fell by 20 per cent last year.
That meant good causes received £1.7 billion less, while the number of people giving to charity fell, and the amounts they donated also declined, from £11 to £10 a month.
The CAF and NCVO launched a Back Britain’s Charities campaign, urging people and individuals to give what they can.
They urged the Government to modernise and use Gift Aid and make sure public bodies do not disproportionately cut funding for charities when making budget savings.
A spokeswoman told the Daily Press they did not believe there would be major regional variations in the pattern of giving to charity.
The report used data from the Office for National Statistics, and found the total fell from £11 billion to £9.3 billion in 2011-12. That was the largest one-year decline in the survey’s eight-year history, but women continue to be more likely to give to charity then men – at 58 per cent compared to 52 per cent. Last year women aged 45 and over were the most likely to donate, at 62 per cent, and give the most, at an average of £15.
While they are still the most likely to give, the percentage of people in managerial and professional groups has decreased from 70 per cent to 66 per cent, with the amount dropping from £20 to £17.
The youngest adults continue to be the least likely to give, with women aged 16-24 the meanest, with only 41 per cent donating, compared to 48 per cent for men in the same age group. Medical research, hospitals and hospices and children and young people were the most popular causes among donors, but religious causes received the largest average donations.
CAF boss John Low said: “The drop in giving shown by our survey is deeply worrying for those charities which rely on donations to provide vital frontline services.”