Why cash and coins are playing a big role in charity donations

by The Technical Blogs


Cash may no longer be king for many people, but physical coins and banknotes still play a significant role when it comes to charitable giving, new research shows.

A quarter (25%) of people who gave to charity between January and August this year did so in cash, research from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) indicates.

This is up from 22% during the same period in 2022 and just 13% in 2021.

Mark Greer, managing director of giving and impact at the Charities Aid Foundation, says: “A quarter of people who give to charity use cash. That’s up from an all-time low in the pandemic, but still down on pre-pandemic levels.

“Those who gave in cash didn’t always seek alternative ways to give so, as charities struggle with increased costs, higher demand and squeezed donors, it’s welcome to see a return of what is a significant source of donations for some,” he adds.

“Cash donations are still eligible for Gift Aid, so cash donors should always remember to tick the box to help their donation go further.”

Between January and August 2019, more than a third (37%) donors who made charitable donations did so in cash, according to the CAF’s figures. This then fell to a fifth (20%) during January to August 2020, a period which saw the UK enter lockdown.

Perhaps surprisingly, the research also indicates that 16-24-year-olds are particularly likely to donate to charity using physical cash.

Greer adds: “Even though they are usually considered a digital-first generation, 16-24-year-olds are significantly more likely than any other age group to donate to charity using cash.

“But far fewer young people donate to charities compared to older age groups. That is why we need to foster a culture of widespread giving in this country to support charities over the long-term.”

The CAF’s research was based on monthly interviews by YouGov carried out on its behalf, among 1,000 people each month.

Cost-of-living concerns may be encouraging some people to rely more on cash to help them stick to a budget.

Banking and finance industry body UK Finance recently said that 21.6 million people across the UK used cash only once a month or not at all in 2022 – falling back from 23.1 million the year before.

Traditional cash collections are still an important form of fundraising

Carrie Reiners, charity akt

Carrie Reiners, deputy CEO at charity akt, which supports LGBTQ+ young people who are facing or experiencing  homelessness, says: “Overall, like many charities we have seen a downturn in community fundraising events. We don’t receive many cash donations and focus on other forms of income generation instead.

“However, over the summer we did have partnership with a West End theatre who did a range of bucket collections for us over key dates in the Pride season, which raised £4,000 in cash. So while not our focus, traditional cash collections are still an important form of fundraising.”


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