This week's blog summarises 10 key findings from our 'Hidden But Vital: Charities and the Pandemic' report, just in case you're short on time. Follow the link to get your copy of the full report.
1. Just 48% of the public agreed that ‘charities have responded well to the pandemic so far’ in March 2021, down from 55% in May 2020
2. 45% of the public agree the government is doing enough to support businesses, compared to 31% who think that the government is doing enough to support charities at this time.
3. Prior to the pandemic, 69% of the public said that they donated to charity in the last three months. In August 2020 this dropped to 54%, and was then 55% in March 2021. Worryingly, the biggest reductions in those saying they have donated in the last three months have occurred in the older age groups, who are likely to make up the bulk of charities donated income. For instance, 71% of both 35–44-year-olds and 45-65-year-olds said they had donated pre-pandemic. That figure is now at 53% for the former and 41% for the latter.
4. Methods of giving that enable social distancing to be maintained (such as buying on a charity website) have all increased in usage since before the pandemic by varying degrees: websites (20% to 38%), giving by standing order or direct debit (30% to 41%), debit card or credit card (26% to 41%), membership subscription and by SMS/text (10% to 23%).
5. 46% of people would be very interested or quite interested in attending a social event organised by a charity in the light of this summer’s loosening of restrictions.
6. Volunteering amongst younger age groups spiked at the beginning of the pandemic: 40% of 16-24-year olds said they volunteered, compared to 24% in 2012 and 30% in 2018. Volunteering amongst those aged 65+ dropped from around 25% before the pandemic to 13% in May 2020 and 10% in August 2020. Volunteering rates amongst the 45-54 and 55-64 ages groups also saw significant declines.
7. Concern about the impact of Covid on potentially vulnerable people has dropped significantly between March 2020 and March 2021: older people (82% to 71%), people with underlying health conditions (81% to 66%), people living with heart disease (73% to 59%) and people with diabetes (61% to 47%) .
8. In January 2020, 55% of the public said protecting the environment should come first, compared to 24% for the economy. By March 2021, a third of the public had changed their minds. 43% now said the economy should be prioritised compared to 42% for the environment. This is a dramatic change and is the first time the economy has been higher than the environment since 2012, when concern about a recession was high.
9. Mind continues to be one of the top charities associated with responding to the pandemic, with 8% of respondents mentioning it unprompted, just behind British Red Cross. Mind has seen a substantial increase in mentions in this area from just 2% in March 2020, underlining the growth in concern about mental health as pandemic restrictions continue to impact people’s lives.
10. Around a third of journalists covering issues that matter to charities (30%) and MPs (33%) selected ‘helping small charities thrive’ as the top issue related to the charity sector that needs to be prioritised. This probably reflects recognition of the financial struggles faced particularly by small charities as donations have dropped, especially if they have limited reserves.