Charity giving declines 20% among richest - with a handful giving very generously 10 Jan 2022

A new report, ‘Mind the Giving Gap’ shows that philanthropic giving has been declining for some years in the UK, with the trend stronger among the richest 1% - those earning more than £175k per year. Produced by the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, the report finds that:

  • The long term picture is a decline from 36% of households giving regularly to charity in 2000, to 26% in 2018. However, those who are giving, give more - increasing from £8.48 in 2000 to £13.16 in 2018, adjusted for inflation.
  • Incomes among the top 1% of earners have increased significantly since 2011, to an average of £271k. In this time charity donations among the group fell 20%, to £48 per month.
  • However, some wealthy people stepped up during the pandemic – the Charities Aid Foundations points to a 26% increase of payments by private clients into charitable trusts in 2020 – 21.
  • The UK’s 1,700 richest people made two thirds of the donations given by the top 1%.
  • In 2019, the UK population averagely gave 0.8% of income to charity, compared with 0.2% for the wealthiest 1%.
  • Closing the ‘generosity gap’ among the very rich could generate £1.4bn for UK charities.
  • There may be other underused sources of charitable funds: charities claim Gift Aid on just over half of donations in the UK, but a further 25% may be eligible for it.
  • An analysis of tax assessments shows giving by those based in the wealthiest areas is seven times higher than the most deprived – so place-targeted fundraising efforts among local business leaders may be one approach to unequal giving by geography.

The Commission, which is chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, proposes two other interventions: a Government-appointed Philanthropy Commissioner and locally based Philanthropy Champions to work alongside Metro Mayors. Guardian, UK Fundraising, Law Family Commission (report)