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British Don't Plan Their Charitable Giving

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - May 16, 2003) - One-third of the British throw coins into public water fountains, believing the money will go to charities - a finding that illustrates the lack of well thought-out giving in Britain, according to a new report.

The report, 'Making a Bigger Splash: Moving from Spare Change to Planned Charitable Giving,' was released in April by the Social Market Foundation in London.

Fundraising methods are largely unsophisticated in Britain, the report said. Fundraisers often rely on 'spare change donations' such as rattling tins in a public area, collecting money by going door to door and selling raffle tickets.

The lack of planning when making charitable contributions by the British was supported by the results of a survey the Social Market Foundation conducted on 10,000 current donors to charitable organizations. One-third to one-half of donors had no idea if they gave more or less to charity in 2002 than in 2001. The British tend to donate spontaneously, giving randomly to people asking for donations on the street, whereas about 80 percent of charitable donations in the United States are planned and given on a regular basis, the report said.

Throwing coins into water fountains is more common among people in the lower-income brackets, but one-fifth of people who earn more than 100,000 pounds, or approximately US$162,000, also donate this way. While not every coin thrown into a water fountain is necessarily meant to be a charitable donation, the survey showed that the majority of throwers did believe the money would eventually go to charity.

The Social Market Foundation made several recommendations that could help create an environment of giving in Britain. The recommendations included:

  • using technology better to move from random giving to more thought-out giving
  • providing financial and logistical support for the development of new fundraising products and
  • establishing a charitable organization that would receive donations and then redistribute gifts.

For more information on the report, look for the 'A Bigger Splash' paper on the Social Market Foundation's website.

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