Charity donations down: How Recycling Lives stops the squeeze

The results of a recent survey by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have made uncomfortable reading for many organisations in the charity sector.

The survey revealed that, during the last financial year, donations to charity fell from £11bn to £9.3bn, which, when adjusted for inflation, represents a loss of 20%.

Of the total amount given to charity, religious causes receive the greatest share (17%), followed by medical research and hospitals each receiving 15%. Children’s charities receive 11% of the total amount, with overseas aid charities taking 10%, and a further 5% of the overall amount being donated to animal charities.

Cash is the most common way to donate to charities, and makes up half of all donations. Direct debit accounts for 31% of donations, and supporting charities by buying goods and raffle tickets make up a quarter and 22%, respectively, of all donations to charity. Less common methods of donation are membership fees/subscriptions (5%) and payroll giving, used in only 3% of donations.

Implications of a drop in donations are severe, with some charitable organisations having no option but to cut front-line services, make redundancies or even close the charity completely. The donation shortfall is disproportionately affecting small and medium sized charities.

Sir Stuart Etherington, the chief executive of the NCVO, suggests that people commit to making regular donations via direct debit, in order to stop charities from being squeezed. To stimulate charitable giving, the government is looking into implementing new tax incentives, as well as match funding, the transition fund, and Big Society Capital. Additionally, a new Gift Aid scheme for small donations is to be introduced, and payroll giving reforms are proposed.

Recycling Lives knows that, when times are tough, charity donations are often one expense too many for cash-strapped householders. While the organisation continues to welcome cash donations to support its vital charity work, the vast majority of our charity funding comes from our sustainable social business operations.

Simply by choosing Recycling Lives as a waste management service provider, companies and individual householders are helping to support our social welfare charity. Every contract we receive, no matter how big or small, helps to fund the accommodation, training, work experience and education opportunities that we provide to people affected by homelessness.

In addition to running its own charity, Recycling Lives helps other charities by inviting them to collaborate on innovative nation-wide Community Dotcom schemes, which offer householders across the UK the chance to book a quality commercial service from a charity provider.

Our Community Dotcom schemes allow people to dispense with bulky waste, unwanted furniture, and unwanted vehicles. Customers can book a collection to suit them via one of our easy-to-use websites, and a charity collection partner in their local area will collect the unwanted items as agreed.

A wide range of charities are helped by Bulky Waste and Furniture Donation Network, and in the case of Car Donation Network, car owners are even able to choose which charity will benefit from their old car when it is scrapped.

As the traditional charity sector continues to suffer from the effects of a difficult financial period, Recycling Lives hopes that its model of sustainable charity giving, as championed in a recent Government white paper, will become a more widely accepted alternative.