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Coronavirus: Charity donations drop by £140m a month

Abigail Fenton
·3-min read
Many charities could cease to operate by the end of November. (Kat Yukawa/Unsplash)
Many charities could cease to operate by the end of November. Photo: Kat Yukawa/Unsplash

Many charities could be facing closure in the upcoming months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen donations fall by an estimated £140m a month.

About 28% of people have cut their donations to charities since the start of the coronavirus crisis, compared to just 5% that have increased them, according to a survey of 1,000 UK adults by IT company DSA Connect.

The drop in donations from those giving less equates to around £140m a month, the company estimated.

This, coupled with the fact that more people are using the services of charities during the crisis, could mean a growing number will be forced to close, added the company, which said it is being contacted by charities closing or planning to close, that want help with erasing sensitive information from their IT hardware.

About 8% of people are receiving more support from charities, or are using them for the first time since the crisis started, compared to just 3% who are using them less, the research found.

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The data shows more than half (53%) of those who have reduced their donations to charities did so because they are more conscious of saving and protecting their income during the coronavirus crisis.

Over a third (34%) cited either a pay cut, being furloughed, or job loss as their reason for cutting back.

Almost a quarter (23%) said they reduced their donations because their living expenses have increased.

Meanwhile, more than a fifth (21%) said it is because they are now providing greater financial support to their family and loved ones through the crisis.

Unfortunately, the research also highlighted that the situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon. Over two in five (42%) of those donating less don’t know when they will start giving the same amount again, with one in six (17%) admitting they have no plans to re-adjust their donations to their previous total.

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People in the UK donate around £10bn a year to charities. However, given the current financial state of the sector, 10% of charities think it is “likely” they will cease to operate before the end of November, a survey published earlier this year by Bono Economics found.

Separate research also shows over a fifth of charities in England and Wales had less than a month of expenditure in reserve at the start of the pandemic.

“Like many organisations, charities are finding themselves under immense pressure because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Harry Benham, chairman of DSA Connect.

“Our findings show that more people are leaning on charities for support, yet donations have taken a significant hit.

“Sadly, many charities are on the brink of closing, and we have seen a growing number contacting us asking for help in how they can erase sensitive data properly from their IT hardware, and how best to dispose of their technology or get the best price from selling it.”

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