Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 13:45 UK

Charitable giving hit by downturn

Charity collection
Charities have found it tough during the recession

The amount of money donated to good causes fell by 11% in the year to April as the downturn hit charities, a new survey suggests.

Estimated total donations fell from £11.2bn in 2007-8 to £9.9bn.

Although half of all adults in the UK donated to charitable causes in 2008-9, the average amount they gave fell by £1 a month to £10 per month.

The figures came from the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Medical research is the most popular sector for donations, the report said.

However, religious charities take the largest share of the total amount given.

High earners

The report, based on a survey of 3,316 people, found that the drop in giving was due in part to the fall in large donations made by high-earning professionals.

Most people give cash donations, although larger amounts tend to be given via direct debit.

"Even though there are welcome signs the recession is technically ending, the economic downturn is still severely impacting charities, many of which have had to cut jobs while facing increased demand for their services," said John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation.

"If all taxpayers tick the gift aid box, or give through give-as-you-earn, it would go a long way to make up the shortfall in funding without costing them a penny more."

The Charity Commission, which oversees the sector, said that its research showed that 56% of charities surveyed said they had been affected by the economic downturn.

"Voluntary income is such an important source of income for charities, so it is vital that charity trustees plan strategically, while hoping that the economic climate improves," said Rosie Chapman of the Charity Commission.

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