It's double trouble for charities. People are giving less, and fewer people are giving. The numbers make for depressing reading. The total sum given to UK charities fell from £11bn to £9.3bn during 2011-12, the largest cash drop in the survey's eight-year history. The proportion of people donating to charitable causes in a typical month fell from 58% to 55%. The median amount donated was £10 in 2011-12, down from £11 the previous year and £12 in 2009-10. It's a steep downward drop with no sign of relief for cash-strapped charities.
The reasons for the steep cut in donations are pretty obvious. The double-dip recession has everyone looking carefully at the bank balance, and charities are usually one of the first things to go when you're tightening your belt. But there's a troublesome Catch-22 at the heart of all this. Government cut-backs are provably aimed at the least-able to cope. The help they need is coming from charities who are increasingly being instructed to stop up the shortfall--at the same time as their funding is being brutally cut, and the vital revenue that donations provide is quickly ebbing away.
It's a little to early to tell if the figures constitute a trend. We can only hope not, because the consequences of a donation line falling inexorably towards zero are frankly too horrible to contemplate.