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The Value of Giving: How Charitable Donations and Volunteering Boost the UK Economy

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Charitable Giving Adds £23 Billion to UK Economy – Benefact Group Launches Inaugural ‘Value of Giving’ Report

Key Takeaways:

  • In 2022, the combined value of volunteering and donations came to £23 billion (bn), representing 0.8% of total UK GDP – larger than the sports and gambling sector valued at £18.4 bn combined.
  • The pre-pandemic decade saw a steady increase in the value of volunteering, rising by £7.5bn from £11.2bn to £18.7bn between 2010/11 to 2018/19.
  • Despite increasing charitable donations, challenging financial circumstances following the pandemic and rising living costs have impacted the amount people have been able to give. The average amount given by those donating over a year has more than halved since the beginning of the pandemic, falling from £261 in 2018/19 to £101 in 2022.

London, UK – Benefact Group, the UK’s third-largest corporate donor, has released a report assessing the previously unstudied socio-economic value of volunteering and donating. The ‘Value of Giving’ 2022 Report, commissioned by Benefact Group and conducted by the Centre of Economics and Business Research (Cebr), found that in 2022 the combined value of volunteering and donations came to £23 billion, representing 0.8% of total UK GDP.

The report found that the annual value of volunteering in the UK was £18.7 billion in 2022, with charitable donations contributing an additional £4.3 billion. However, the value of charitable donations decreased by £5 billion from 2021 due to the pandemic’s impact on the economy. The fall in donations also comes as inflation remains at historically elevated levels.

Value of Volunteering Has Risen

The pre-pandemic decade saw a steady increase in the value of volunteering, rising by £7.5bn from £11.2bn to £18.7bn between 2010/11 to 2018/19. The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions were key factors in the annual value of volunteering falling to £11bn in 2020. Volunteering levels have since recovered, with the estimated annual value of voluntary work in 2022 rising to £18.7bn, a return to pre-Covid-19 levels.

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Charitable Donations Have Fallen

The report found that charitable donations rose steadily from £5.9bn in 2010/11 to £9.8bn in 2020 but have since fallen to £4.3bn in 2022, following the pandemic. The steep drop is likely due to increased living costs for UK households and soaring bills over the past year. The fall in donations also comes as inflation remains at historically elevated levels.

Number of People Giving and Volunteering Significantly Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

The report found that despite the challenging financial circumstances following the pandemic and rising living costs, the number of people giving and volunteering is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. Over three quarters (76%) of UK adults donated to charity in 2022, up from 64% in 2018/19. The average amount given by those donating over a year has more than halved since the beginning of the pandemic, falling from £261 in 2018/19 to £101 in 2022.

Benefact Group Encourages Businesses to Donate and Empower Their Employees to Volunteer

Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive Officer of Benefact Group, said, “The charity sector is a cornerstone of British society, and this report quantifies the combined value of charitable donations and volunteering to the economy, for the first time. We encourage businesses – who can also play a pivotal role in supporting the sector – to continue to donate and empower their employees to continue volunteering. The combined effort of corporates collectively donating a proportion of their profits and the public kindly giving up time to volunteer can drive a crucial movement for good within society.”

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Cebr Head of Forecasting and Thought Leadership, Kay Neufeld, said, “Our report with Benefact Group gives a comprehensive overview of the economic value of charitable giving and volunteering in the UK at a time when the country emerged from pandemic restrictions. It is encouraging to see that the share of people giving to charity or volunteering in their free time has not only fully recovered but even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. By quantifying this combined value of giving, we’re pleased to be able to demonstrate the crucial importance of this sector to the UK economy.”

Benefact Group Gives All Its Available Profits to Good Causes

Owned by a registered charity, Benefact Trust, Benefact Group is the third-largest corporate donor to charity in the UK and gives all its available profits to good causes. The Value of Giving report highlights the significant contribution of donations and volunteering to the UK economy and emphasises the importance of continued support from both the public and private sectors.

Overall, the report showcases the incredible value of charitable giving and volunteering to the UK economy, even during challenging times. The increase in volunteering levels post-pandemic and the high number of people donating to charity are both positive signs of the public’s generosity and commitment to supporting good causes. However, the decrease in the average amount given highlights the need for continued support and increased awareness of the importance of charitable giving.

Businesses, in particular, have an important role to play in supporting the charity sector, as highlighted by Benefact Group. By donating a proportion of their profits and encouraging employees to volunteer, they can make a significant contribution to society while also improving their corporate social responsibility profile.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the Value of Giving report serves as a reminder of the crucial role that charitable giving and volunteering play in our economy and society. The public’s generosity and commitment to good causes, coupled with the support of businesses, will ensure that the charity sector continues to thrive and make a positive impact in the years to come.


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