February 15, 2011; Source: Bristol University | A recent study titled “The new state of donation: Three decades of household giving to charity, 1978 – 2008” has found that British donors still give to charity exactly as they did twenty years ago – really – exactly. In 1988, households gave .04 percent on average and in 2010 they are still right at the same level. This, says the study, means that British philanthropy is somewhat recession proof but also apparently immune to attempts to grow it. Conducted by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at the University of Bristol and the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) at Cass Business School, City University London, the study did find some changes including:

  • Charitable giving increasingly depends on elderly donors. The over-65s now account for more than a third of all donations, compared with a quarter in 1978 . . .
  • Better-off donors now account for an increasing share of total donations. Today, the richest ten per cent of donors account for 22 per cent of total donations, compared with 16 per cent in the early 1980s.
  • At the same time, poorer givers are more generous in terms of the proportion of their total budgets given to charity. The poorest ten per cent of givers donate 3.6 per cent of their total spending to charity, compared with 1.1 per cent for the richest 10 per cent.

— Ruth McCambridge