Northern Ireland public some of the most generous in the UK at Christmas, new survey reveals

Despite difficult economic times, the people of Northern Ireland are some of the most generous in the UK when it comes to charity giving at Christmas, a new survey released today by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has revealed.

According to the independent poll, carried out by ICM Research, Northern Ireland respondents will give, on average, £7.60 more than the UK average to charities at Christmas.

The poll reported that the average UK Christmas donation per person was £39.50, however Northern Ireland respondents showed their generosity with an average planned or actual donation of £47.10. In fact the only area more generous than Northern Ireland was the South East of England with an average donation of £52.

And the most popular ways for local people to give to charities over the festive season are purchasing festive cards and other goods in aid of charity (82%), cash collections (75%) and raffles and lotteries (57%).

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, welcomed the findings, which she said confirm the important place charities have in the hearts of the Northern Ireland public.

She commented:  “This is the second year we have commissioned the Charity giving over Christmas survey and, once again, the people of Northern Ireland have been revealed as some of the most generous in the UK at Christmas time.
“It’s great to see just how generous local people are, especially in today’s often tough financial times, but in addition to that I think the findings also show just how important charities and their work are to the public.

“Local people obviously have a lot of respect for Northern Ireland’s charities and I hope the work of the Commission will help to reaffirm that public confidence and trust in charities.”

The survey also revealed that 68% of Northern Ireland respondents never look for the Fundraising Standards Board’s (FRSB) ‘give with confidence’ logo – something which the Commission is hoping to change over the next year.

Ms McCandless continued: “It is regrettable that people are continuing to give to charity collectors without undertaking some basic checks first to ensure that they are giving to a bona fide charity.

“We are set to begin charity registration later this month, which I hope will act as a reminder for everyone that we are here to ensure that charities are open, transparent and accountable.

“And, to help people donate with confidence, we have also issued our top ten tips for charity giving, which we would encourage everyone to follow this Christmas and throughout the year.”

The Charity Commission’s safer Christmas giving tips:

  1. Check the list of ‘deemed charities’ on the Charity Commission's website, which show organisations that have been granted charitable tax status by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). When registration begins later this month, the public will also be able to check the Commission’s online Register of charities.
  2. To donate online to a particular charity, look for that charity's website. Check that you have the right web address.
  3. Be careful when responding to emails or clicking links on emails. Always check emails are genuine by looking out for spelling mistakes or other signs that the email is not genuine. If you have any concerns, don't hesitate to contact the charity directly.
  4. Check whether a collector has the authority to collect. A permit or license is usually required if raising money in a public place. These permits are obtained through the PSNI at present.
  5. Ask the collector how much of your donation goes to the charity. There's no fixed rule about what percentage should be given to charity, but our advice is for people to ask what proportion of gross profit goes to the charity. This allows you to make an informed choice before you give.
  6. Ask the collector for more information about what donations will be used for. A genuine charity will understand that you may wish to know more and should be happy to answer questions.
  7. Check that the collection tin is sealed and that it is not damaged.
  8. If in doubt send your donation directly to the charity.
  9. It is always good practice for charities to tell you how your money has been used after you have given via emails, newsletters or other communications.
  10. If you have a concern about a charity, you can contact the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and raise a confidential concern about the operation of that charity. More information is available online here.

You can read or download the Commission's full Charity giving over Christmas survey report using the links below:


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169 or email:

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