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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Cancer remains the public’s favourite charitable cause

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​Poll finds UK's top causes have remained unchanged for six years

Cancer continues to be the favourite charitable cause of the public, a survey has shown.

The poll, by researchers nfpSynergy, found the UK’s top causes have remained unchanged for six years, with animals, children and young people, hospices and non-cancer health charities rounding out the top five.

Armed forces charities were the biggest riser in the survey of 1000 people across the UK, coming in sixth on the list.

Homelessness and social welfare charities have also increased in popularity over the past ten years, with researchers believing this could be because of austerity cuts to social support services.

This research highlights the need for charities to appeal to both the public and corporations to receive as much as they can in donations

They said: “The high level of austerity following the 2008 financial crisis and a subsequent reduction in social welfare provision under the current Conservative government has meant that homelessness and social welfare have become pressing issues in the UK.

“For example, over half of all homelessness services have had their funding cut in the last five years despite a rise in homelessness. This is likely to explain the rise in popularity of these causes.”

Figures also revealed that young people were more likely to support homelessness causes than older generations, with support particularly strong among Londoners.

Most causes were found to be fairly equal in popularity among men and women, with two notable exceptions: men were more likely to favour armed forces charities, while women were fonder of animal charities.

Social grade, household income and political opinion were not found to have a significant effect on people’s choice of causes.

The poll found the biggest discrepancies were found when age was taken into account. While cancer was the most popular cause across all age groups, 32% of 16-24 year olds picked children and young people as a favourite cause, whereas only 21% of over-65s chose this cause.

In contrast, over-65s were more likely to favour causes that support people above the age of 16-24.

For the second year in a row, research found the public do not always give the most money to their favourite charities.

Despite cancer being the favourite cause of most people, more individual donations were made to charities helping children and young people.

Medical research charities continue to “dominate” in terms of donated income, however.

The poll’s authors said: “Out of the top 10 charities that received the highest amount of voluntary income in 2015, only one was a children’s cause.

“This shows that donations aside from individual giving, such as corporate gifts, are also very important in shaping which charities receive the most income. This research highlights the need for charities to appeal to both the public and corporations to receive as much as they can in donations.”

 

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