United Kingdom

European Research Network on Philanthropy

Institutional members

Cass Business Schoolcass
Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy
Website: Cass Business School

Cathy Pharoah
Cass Business School
Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy
email: cathy.pharoah@ thirdsp.co.uk

Jenny Harrow
Cass Business School
Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy
email: jenny.harrow@ city.ac.uk

Tom McKenzie
Cass Business School
Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy
email: tom.mckenzie.1@ city.ac.uk

Tobias Jung
Cass Business School
Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy
email: tobias.jung.1@ city.ac.uk

University of Kentkent
Center for Philanthropy
Website: Center for Philanthropy

Lesley Alborough
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
lja24@ kent.ac.uk

Alison Body
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email:  ali.body@ canterbury.ac.uk

Beth Breeze
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: b.breeze@ kent.ac.uk

Kate Bradley
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: k.bradley@ kent.ac.uk

Triona Fitton
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: t.fitton@ kent.ac.uk

Eddy Hogg
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: e.hogg@ kent.ac.uk

Jeremy Kendall
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: j.kendall@ kent.ac.uk

Liz Lipscomb
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: l.lipscomb@ kent.ac.uk

Balihar Sanghera
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: b.s.sanghera@ kent.ac.uk

Caroline Walsh
University of Kent
Center for Philanthropy
email: c.a.walsh@ kent.ac.uk

Individual members

Peter Backus
University of Manchester
email:  peter.backus@ manchester.ac.uk

David Clifford
Third Sector Research Centre
School of Social Sciences
University of Birmingham
email: d.clifford@ tsrc.ac.uk

Peter Halfpenny
University of Manchester
School of Social Sciences
email: p.halfpenny@ manchester.ac.uk

Sarah Henon
Development Initiatives
email: sarah.henon@ devinit.org

Jane Hudson
Bristol Business School / University of the West
Marketing Department
email: jane.hudson@ uwe.ac.uk

John Mohan
Third Sector Research Centre
University of Birmingham
email: j.mohan@ tsrc.ac.uk

David Reinstein
University of Essex
Departement of Economics
email: drein@ essex.ac.uk

Dingeman Wiertz
University of Oxford
Nuffield College
email: dingeman.wiertz@ nuffield.ox.ac.uk

Current research projects on philanthropy in the United Kingdom
The Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) brings together the expertise of NCVO and research teams in five universities: University of Strathclyde, University of Kent, University of Southampton, Cass Business School and University of Edinburgh.
Together, these members of the Centre are dedicated to researching and sharing knowledge on giving and philanthropy today, with partners leading on different areas of the programme:
Individual & Corporate Giving – University of Strathclyde
Charity & Social Redistribution – Universities of Kent & Southampton
Institutions of Philanthropy and Giving Data – Cass Business School & University of Edinburgh
Knowledge-sharing and dissemination – Cass Business School, University of Edinburgh and NCVO.
CGAP’s mission is to build a better understanding of charitable giving and philanthropy for donors, charities and policy-makers. CGAP aims to promote the strategic role of philanthropy in meeting today’s social needs.

Current state of Giving Research in the United Kingdom

There are several main sources of data on individual and household giving in the UK. The situation is somewhat similar to the US, where there are several good surveys but with striking variations in their results, because giving survey results are highly sensitive to any differences in the methodologies used.

Data sources

Individual Giving survey series (1987- present)
A longstanding annual sample population survey of individual giving, funded by voluntary organisations. It is currently carried out through a module of questions placed in the Office of National Statistics Omnibus Survey, three times per year. It uses a random probability sample of private households, interviewing one adult per household about personal giving. Sample of +/- 5,000 per year.
Expenditure and Food Survey
The Government’s annual sample population survey of household expenditure contains a suite of questions on household giving to charity, including regular deductions from salary which cover charitable giving commitments. The survey has an annual sample of around 7,000 and has been running for 30 years. It excludes charitable purchases from its definition of ‘giving’.
Citizenship Survey
The Government’s Citizenship survey covers a range of activities, including individual memberships, volunteering, and some questions on giving. The sample is 10,000 with an ethnic minority booster sample.
Government administrative data
HM Revenue and Customs publishes annual data on the cost of personal charitable tax reliefs on all the various tax-effective ways of giving, including legacies. HMRC is looking at the possibility of allowing individual tax records to be used for research within controlled circumstances.
One-off national surveys
‘Helping Out’ was a very good large national sample survey of individual giving and volunteering, with an ethnic minority booster sample.
‘Populist’ surveys
The annual ‘Generosity Index’ of wealthy givers, published by the Sunday Times in its Rich List supplement, asks the 1,000 wealthiest people in the UK about their giving.
British Market Research Board Consumer Surveys
Small number of annual questions about individual giving in very large consumer surveys.
Descriptive statistics
Participation and amounts
The Individual Giving Survey currently estimates UK Giving at about £9.5 billion, and around 1% of average income.
However, results from different individual giving surveys vary considerably. For example:
How much people give – average monthly giving is most recently estimated at:
 £26.53   (NCVO/CAF UK Giving 2007)
 £31.00 (Helping Out, Office of the Third Sector, 2007)
How many people give – the monthly proportion who give is estimated at:
 54% (NCVO/CAF UK Giving 2007)
 81% (Helping Out, OTS, 2007).
Estimates from the Expenditure and Food Survey tend to come out at about half of this amount, because of the exclusion of charitable purchasing. Analysis of the long-term trend data in this survey has shown a slow decline over the last 30 years in the proportion of households giving to charity, while average household giving has gone up.
Tax-effective giving
Around one-third of the amount given in the UK is estimated to be tax-effective, and around one-third of donors are estimated to use tax-effective giving methods. Tax repaid to charities on giving through Gift Aid – the most popular tax-effective method in the UK which accounts for 90% of all giving – is worth around £850 million: tax repaid to donors is around £200 million.
Causes supported
The NCVO/CAF Individual Giving Survey estimates current support for causes as:
Table 1.Share of total individual giving by cause, 2006/07
Share of total giving (%)
Medical research
Children/ young people
Hospital/ hospices
Animal rescue

Source: Wiepking, P. (Ed.) The State of Giving Research in Europe. Household donations to Charitable Organizations in Twelve Countries. Pallas Publications: Amsterdam, the Netherlands. order here.


CAF. 2006a. “International Comparisions of Charitable Giving.” CAF, London, United Kingdom.
CAF. 2006b. “UK Giving 2005/06. Results of the 2005/06 Survey of Individual Charitable Giving in the UK.” CAF, London, United Kingdom.
CAF. 2007. “UK Giving 2006/07. Results of the 2006/07 Individual Giving Survey.” CAF, London, United Kingdom.
CAF/NCVO. 2005. UK Giving 2004/2005. London, United Kingdom: CAF/NCVO.
Low, Natalie, Sarah Butt, Angela Ellis Paine, and Justin Davis Smith. 2007. “Helping Out: A National Survey of Volunteering and Charitable Giving.” National Center for Social Research / Institute for Volunteering Research, London, United Kingdom.