Local festive charity giving remains strong

14 December 2012

The Northern Ireland public are more ‘charity friendly’ at Christmas than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, giving more per person and more likely to give directly to charities at Christmas. These are two key findings of a survey released today by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Individuals across the UK were surveyed between 30 November and 02 December 2012 with questions including whether people planned to donate to charities this Christmas, how much they were planning to give or had given and whether they "check" the credentials of the charities first.

Northern Ireland respondents will give an average £5.20 more to charities at Christmas than any other UK region. The UK average Christmas donation per person was £46.50, with local respondents topping the generosity polls with an average planned or actual donation of £51.70.

The survey also found that Northern Ireland people do little to check the bona fides of the charities that they donate to, with more than half (54%) never checking for the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) tick.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said the findings were telling:

"It’s great to see that local people are generous, even in tough financial times. We’re all aware of the charitable nature of people here, but these survey findings really bring that home.

"The only regrettable survey finding is that often, people give without doing some very simple checks to ensure the credentials of the charity. That’s why we have published ten easy tips for safer Christmas giving.

"The tips are practical and allow people to give with added confidence this festive season."

The ten safer Christmas giving tips are as follows:  

  1. Check the list of "deemed charities" on the Charity Commissions website.  Not all charities will be on the list as it is not yet a legal requirement to register with the Charity Commission.  The list does show which organisations have registered with HM Revenue and Customs for tax purposes and are subject to our powers.
  2. To donate online to a particular charity, look for that charity's website. Check that you have the right web address.
  3. Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links on emails. Always check that emails are genuine by looking out for spelling mistakes or other signs that the email is not genuine. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don't hesitate to contact that 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.

Read the full Christmas giving survey report (MS Word 154kb)

Notes to editors

1. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the new independent regulator established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

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