Charitable giving adds £23 billion to UK economy
By Sarah Wood | 25th April 2023
A combination of volunteering and donations amounted to £23bn to charity, according to research from Gloucester-based Benefact Group.
Benefact Group's Value of Giving 2022 Report assessed the previously unstudied socio-economic value of volunteering and donating.
Its key finding was that, in 2022, the combined value of volunteering and donations came to £23bn, representing 0.8% of total UK GDP - and larger than the sports and gambling sectors valued at £18.4bn combined.
The research found the estimated annual value of voluntary work to the economy was £18.7bn, with charitable donations contributing an additional £4.3bn.
The proportion of adults giving up their free time to help good causes rose from 17.9% in 2018/19 to 29.7% in 2022.
However, this has been offset by a fall in the average hours spent volunteering. Benefact Group's report found average volunteering hours have halved since 2020, from 12 hours over a four-week period to six hours in 2022.
The report found that charitable donations rose steadily from £5.9bn in 2010/11 to £9.8bn in 2020, but fell to £4.3bn in 2022, following the pandemic. The steep drop is likely to be due to increased living costs for UK households and soaring bills over the past year.
The report also found that the number of people giving and volunteering is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. The research found that over three quarters (76%) of UK adults donated to charity in 2022, up from 64% in 2018/19.
But 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.
Mark Hews, group chief executive officer of Benefact Group, said: "The charity sector is a cornerstone of British society. As the third largest corporate donor in the UK, charitable giving is at the heart of what we do and we donate all our available profits to good causes.
"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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