|Over £7 billion is donated in the UK every year, from around three quarters of the adult population.
It may look impressive at first glance, but there are reasons to be concerned. First, despite the introduction of various forms of tax relief, the total value and frequency of charitable donations has remained unchanged since 1988.
Second, there is some indication that the proportion of people giving is declining and that the amounts have not kept up with increases in national wealth.
Perhaps most alarming of all is, despite outstanding acts of individual philanthropy, the poorest in society continue to give a greater proportion of their income to charity than the rich.
Trends in charitable giving
Source: Charities Aid Foundation (UK 1992-1004, adjusted for inflation)
It seems those who can least afford it continue to give proportionally more than the most wealthy. For example, the richest 20% devote only 0.7% of their household expenditure to charities, while the poorest 20% devote 3%.
In the UK, giving trends are influenced by the small number of ‘elite givers’ who donate £50 or more per month. Although they represent less than 5% of the population, their combined donations represent around 55% of the total amount given.
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