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A time for giving? As charitable donations dip, new research from Experian identifies the UK’s charity hot spots

Insight reveals Middle-aged Midlanders are the UK’s most charity-minded while the UK’s wealthiest are among the least supportive

The Midlands, particularly Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Peterborough, and the North West are amongst the most generous places in the UK when it comes to the proportion of people donating to charity according to new insight released today by Experian, the global information services company. With Christmas a key time for charity fundraising, whilst squeezed finances mean fewer donations this year , the research sheds light on the most charity-minded people in the UK and the charities they are likely to support.

Experian applied its Mosaic consumer classification to anonymised data on charity donors in order to build a picture of the people that are most likely to support charity and highlight where key pockets of support for charities exist among UK adults. Mosaic segments the UK population into 15 different groups and 67 different types of people based on their consumer behaviour, attitudes and lifestyle. The resulting analysis identifies marked regional differences and surprising variations in terms of how supportive of charities different parts of UK society are.

The UK’s charity hot spots

While Experian’s research highlights that broad swathes of the UK do donate to charities, the most generous parts of the country overall were all in the Midlands or the North. Experian has produced a ranking  of the UK’s most generous towns based on people who make donations to charity. 

Far from being the most affluent parts of the UK or the largest cities, the places with the most donors as a proportion of overall size are smaller often industrial regional towns.

More detailed analysis of donors to specific charities does, however, bring out further regional highlights.

  • Charities for disaster relief, animals and birds generate the most support from Birmingham. Indeed, those living in the central part of Britain’s second most populous city are five times more likely to dig deep when a major disaster strikes. 
  • Yate tops the table for residents supporting charities for the disabled, with people in the Gloucestershire town 40 per cent more likely to support charities for the disabled than the rest of the United Kingdom. 
  • Residents of the London Borough of Chelsea top the table for supporting charities for the elderly, being over four times more likely to support this cause than the rest of the country. 
  • People in Southport, meanwhile, are more likely to support environmental charities. Over one third (36 per cent) of the town’s population claims to donate to environmental charities – and are one and a half  times more likely than the rest of the UK to do so. 
  • Medical charities generate the most support from Glasgow; charities in developing countries from East Ham and charities for pets from the Lincolnshire town of Skegness.

London is highlighted by Experian’s data as being the least supportive of charities generally.  Four of the five places highlighted as the least giving are considered amongst the capital’s most wealthy boroughs – Wandsworth, Putney, Hammersmith and Kensington are all around 30 per cent less likely to give to charity when compared to the rest of the UK.

Who’s giving? UK consumer insight

Reflecting the geographic trend, charity supporters come from a cross section of UK society. Using Mosaic segmentation reveals the most supportive groups, which are all middle-aged or older, are:

  • The UK’s executive and managerial classes (Mosaic group: Professional Rewards)
  • Manual and white collar workers living in the suburbs (Suburban Mindsets)
  • Older traditionalists living in the UK’s former industrial centres (Industrial Heritage)

In contrast, some of the least supportive groups overall come from the UK’s younger city-dwelling population and are between 10 and 20 per cent less likely than the population as a whole to donate to charity:

  • Younger, single and less affluent city dwellers living in small flats and apartments (Upper Floor Living)
  • Those starting out on the property ladder (New Homemakers)

However, least support of all comes from an unexpected quarter:

  • Well educated (including students), young professionals living in Britain’s largest cities (Liberal Opinions) are over 30 per cent less likely to donate to charity than the rest of the UK
  • Within this group, the UK’s well-educated young “high flyers” (Bright Young Things) are  70 percent less likely than the UK population to donate to charities

Which charity sectors get whose support?

Children’s charities

  • Children’s charities have the highest level of support of all the charity sectors – supported by over half the UK population (55.3 per cent)
  • Most support for Children’s charities comes from Suburban Mindsets and younger people with school or nursery aged children living in older parts of cities and towns.  They are 30 and 50 per cent respectively more likely to support this kind of charity than other groups
  • Least supportive are older people, both active over 65s (Active Retired) and less surprisingly older pensioners in their 70s and 80s (Elderly Needs).  These groups are 70 per cent less likely than the UK population to donate to these causes

Disability charities

  • Generate support from 17.1 per cent of the UK population
  • Are more than twice as likely to receive donations from those taking their first steps on the property ladder (New Homemakers) and young couples with children (Careers and Kids)
  • Receive very little support from the least affluent consumers in the UK, such as those on benefits, the elderly and younger, less well off singles

Disaster relief charities

  • Relatively under supported by all but the least affluent groups – not regularly front of mind with only four per cent of the population donating to them
  • Donations for this charity sector are almost three times as likely to come from those people living in ex-council communities or less well off young urban singles than the rest of the UK

Elderly charities

  • Generate support from 10 per cent of the population
  • Most likely to be supported by the most affluent and wealthy parts of UK society (Alpha Territory) and the UK’s wealthy business class (Professional Rewards)

Environmental charities

  • Supported by over 20 per cent of the population
  • Most likely to be supported by the wealthy business classes (Professional Rewards) and those living small, stable communities with modest incomes yet strong roots (Small Town Diversity)

Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Data & Analytics, Experian Marketing Services commented:

“Our analysis highlights very different levels of support for charities based on where people live and importantly, lifestage, with older people broadly more supportive of charities. This might be because younger people have limited experience and money and therefore do not value what charities offer. As they get older this changes as different values kick in. Charities should consider how they engage with this younger group and perhaps develop alternative ways of giving, such as volunteering time or other fundraising products.
 
“Retention is also vital to a charity’s success in fundraising. Once they have a donor they need to keep them – but the challenge again is knowing how and when to engage them.  A recent survey by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that charity donations have fallen by 20 per cent in real terms in the past year. That equates to £1.7 billion less being given. What’s more, one in six UK charities questioned by the Charities Aid Foundation fear they may have to close in 2013 due to public spending cuts and falling donations.

“Charities clearly need to think carefully about who they want to reach and where and use insight to ensure that they are communicating with the right potential donors at the right time.”

1. The Co-operative Annual Christmas Spending Survey, conducted, on behalf of The Co-operative Group, by OnePoll, with a geographically representative sample of 2,000 respondents in October 2012.
2. Ranking based on donors to charity as a proportion of a town’s size and then on volume of support for charity in a particular town

  • © 2014 Experian. All rights reserved