UK Giving 2018 - A Reaction

9 April 2018 | By Cause4 staff

Charities Aid Foundation has now published ‘UK Giving 2018’, the largest study of the UK’s generosity and a crucial report giving vital insights on the latest giving trends.

So, what has the report found?

  1. The total amount given to charity increased to £10.3 billion, a significant leap from the 2016 figure of £9.7bn.
  2. The most popular causes that we give to are medical research (26%), animal welfare (24%), children or young people (23%), hospitals and hospices (23%) and overseas aid and disaster relief (23%).
  3. After donating money, the most popular ways to give to charities are by giving goods, protesting and petitioning.
  4. One in six of us volunteered for a charity in 2017. Women are slightly more likely to volunteer (19%) than men (15%). The highest levels of volunteering were from full time students – and this group has increased from 2016, with 27% volunteering in 2017 (up from 23% in 2016).
  5. Despite innovation in charitable giving, cash remains the most popular way to give, with 55% doing so in 2017.
  6. Women are still more likely than men to participate in charitable and social activity. The gap is widening between the two groups.
  7. 51% of the population agrees that charities are trustworthy, a level that is consistent with 2016. Men are most likely to disagree that charities are trustworthy.

Reflecting on the report, here are the thoughts of some of the Cause4 team.



In light of recent scandals such as Presidents Club and Oxfam, it is no surprise that only 51% of the population believe charities are trustworthy. This alarming statistic, however, is not new news, and was in fact the same back in 2016, not long after the Kids Company Scandal. Unfortunately, it seems we are not learning from our mistakes, and with more than half of the UK population losing faith in the charity sector, it is high time we do something about it. So how can we build back Trust? I suggest we start with transparency, owning up to our mistakes and showing the people who are investing their money that it is not being wasted or used for unethical means. Here’s hoping that the next CAF report brings with it some more positive results.


Despite receiving the second highest mean donation (£36), the arts is still low in terms of the total donations received in 2017 (2%) joint with Sports and Recreation, reflecting the growing trend for fewer, larger donations highlighted in the report. More importantly, the report portrays the dominance of individual donations to the arts from the capital; “Londoners in 2017 were more likely than the rest of the country to give to otherwise smaller causes, including the arts (7% vs. 3% overall)”.

We now need a concerted campaign to stimulate donations to the arts from outside of the capital, incentivising donors that can make a difference.


Whilst students are amongst the most likely to volunteer, the average age of Trustees is 62. More should be done to capitalise on this clear interest, encouraging young people onto Boards to develop them, as well as diversifying British Boards. The Alec Dickson Trust, which gives grants to people under the age of 30 for community and volunteer projects, does just that. In the spirit of the Trust, all Trustees are under 30. It makes sense for the charity’s Trustees should be on the same demographic as its beneficiaries, and I hope this becomes the norm rather than an exception.


The report confirms that cash remains king for donations. However, charities shouldn’t rest on their laurels, and must ensure that they are reviewing and investing in their digital fundraising strategies. Charities need to make it as easy as possible for people to donate, and for an increasingly digital society, this means making online and digital donations seamless and accessible. People want to give in a way that suits them, so charities need to make sure there are a variety of ways that make it easy to donate!


With gender equality high on the public agenda, it is disappointing to see that women are still more likely than men to be involved in charitable activity - and that this gap is widening. Our communication methods must evolve to reach a more diverse audience. Prostate Cancer UK, for example, has realigned its branding to target the male audience appropriate for its cause – seeing an increase in income as a result.

If we learn from this example, charities that support a variety of individuals could also attract new donors. As we know, #TimesUp for gender inequality – which extends to fundraising too.

What are your thoughts on the latest trends found in the CAF UK Giving Report 2018? Let us know @OfficialCause4

Back to top

Blog index

“The Creative Entrepreneurship Scheme completely rewired my brain.”

Ruth Mariner, Gestalt Arts

More by posts by Cause4 staff

Cause4's Pick of the Month - August 2019

1st August, 2019 | By Cause4 staff

It's a new month and the Cause4 team are excited to introduce another four inspiring individuals that are guiding the way in charity leadership, social entrepreneurship, Trusteeship and Arts Fundraising. Read on to meet our pick of the month for August. 

Cause4’s response to: The UK Civil Society Almanac 2019 Report

15th July, 2019 | By Cause4 staff

The UK Civil Society Almanac Reports, released by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), is a crucial source of data that has been providing insights into developments in the voluntary sector since 1996. NCVO has now released its latest annual report, of which the following response will outline key findings including positive growth in terms of grants and investments, whilst public donations and fundraising decline. Diversity in particular has been highlighted as an ongoing issue within the sector throughout the report.  

Cause4's Pick of the Month June 2019

4th June, 2019 | By Cause4 staff

As we approach summer and the longest day of the year this month, we can’t believe quite how fast this year has gone – or the 10 years that led up to our birthday party in May! In our spirit of Sharism, check out our favourite Charity Leader, Entrepreneur, Trustee and Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Fellow of the Month for June!