Number of charity donors falls yet donations rise

Surveys find fewer people donating to charity but donors giving more

Loreto students Sarah Murray, Caoimhe Stewart and Lois Kelleher encounter members of the 501st Legion fundraising for the Irish Cancer Society during the recent annual Daffodil Day raiser, in  Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Loreto students Sarah Murray, Caoimhe Stewart and Lois Kelleher encounter members of the 501st Legion fundraising for the Irish Cancer Society during the recent annual Daffodil Day raiser, in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 01:01


The number of people making donations to charities has decreased in the past year. However, the amount of money raised by charities has risen as donors are giving more. That is according to the findings of two surveys conducted on behalf of Fundraising Ireland in the wake of controversy around payments made to senior executives in the Central Remedial Clinic and Rehab.

The first of the two surveys carried out by Behaviours and Attitudes, asked more than 1,000 people about their recent charitable donations. It showed the number of people who had recently donated to charity was down compared to a year earlier.

More than three quarters of those surveyed (77 per cent) said they had donated to charity within the past three months, down from 85 per cent a year earlier.

The drop was even greater among those who said they had donated in the month before the survey: just 52 per cent of people said they had done so in this latest survey compared to 63 per cent the year before. Men were more likely to have stopped donating than women, while the number of people donating fell in all socioeconomic groups.

Just over a fifth of people said they had made a donation to a local charity in the past three months (22 per cent) compared to 26 per cent a year earlier. However, more people said they were donating to St Vincent de Paul, with 22 per cent saying they had recently given money to the charity this year versus 20 per cent a year earlier.

While the numbers recently donating were down overall, the amount individuals said they were donating rose in this survey. When donations of more than €1,000 were excluded, the average donation in the three months before the survey stood at €74 compared to €59 a year earlier.

Behaviour and Attitudes also carried out a survey based on interviews with the chief financial officers of 76 charities. It found that the total amount of overall donations (excluding Government grants and those from trusts) increased by 6.8 per cent in 2013, to €1.7 million, compared to €1.6 million a year earlier. The increase was reflected in donations made in the Christmas appeals period (from November 15th, 2013, to January 14th, 2014) which were also up this year.