Number of Scots giving to charity down 8 percentage points year-on-year: Scottish men and the middle-aged notably thrifty

“Recession has made Scots philanthropically cautious” although “dip in giving may have flattened out”, vies nfpSynergy’s Baker

The number of Scottish people claiming they “donated to charity in the last 6 months” has dipped from 79% in April 08 - before the full felt force of the economic downturn - to just 71% in April 09, according to new data out today. Scottish males and the middle-aged (35-64 year olds) seem to have fronted the slump.

These latest findings come from leading not for profit sector think tank and research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Scottish Charity Engagement Monitor, which surveys a representative sample of over 1000 16+ year old Scots, online twice-yearly, yielding regular insights into what the Scottish public thinks about a range of charitable and social issues, and its propensity to give.

The overall 8 percentage point drop in Scottish people claiming to give to charities appears to be spearheaded by Scottish men and middle-aged Scots generally:

  • Men north of the border – numbers claiming to have given in the last 6 months slumped a full 10 percentage points from over three quarters (76%, April 2008) to just two thirds (66%, April 2009) – compared with numbers of their female compatriots so claiming dipping 7 percentage points (82%, April 2008; 75%, April 2009).
  • Middle-aged Scots – traditionally among the most likely donors – have been especially thrifty, in terms of numbers claiming to have given in the last 6 months:
  • 35-44 yo - 12 percentage point dip (83%, April 2008; 71% April 2009)
  • 45-54 yo - 12 percentage point dip (83%, April 2008; 71% April 2009)
  • 55-64 yo - 16 percentage point dip (80%, April 2008; 64% April 2009)

Note: 25-34 yo Scots seem to be the only age group bucking the downward trend, albeit only slightly (74%, April 2008; 75% April 2009)

nfpSynergy’s researcher, Jonathan Baker, said:

“Our new research provides tangible evidence of the impact of the economic downturn on charitable giving in Scotland - with a significant overall year-on-year 8 percentage point dip in numbers claiming to have donated in the last 6 months, as the full felt force of the recession has made people philanthropically cautious. Anxiety appears especially acute amongst the middle aged – doubtless over jobs, homes and pensions - so charities may need to re-engage with this age group as the economy improves. Encouragingly, the dip in giving does at least seem to have flattened out over the last 6 months.”

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MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: adrian@gillanmedia.com) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy (www.nfpsynergy.net) is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.

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SCEM charts July 2009

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