Friday, 8 April 2011

Cancer Heroes and Charity in the UK

On 17th of February a group formed of me (as Captain America) and 4 other first year students organized a charity theme night. The event has been held at Yates in High Wycombe to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.


Before running the event a research on the Charity market in the UK has been carried out in order to find out which kind of event could have been the most profitable and what demographic group would have been the most profitable to target.
The research has been firstly qualitative, conducting two focus groups based on the age and gender of participants. Secondly a quantitative research was carried out looking at official reports based on national statistics about charities and charity giving.

Two focus groups have been conducted for this research.
The first one, composed by six over 30s, included three women and three men while the second one consisted of six females and four males for a total of ten under 30s.
Both of them were conducted by a single moderator which introduced four main topics in about one hour.
The first topic concerned the participants’ attitude towards charity in general and their opinions on the moral value of giving.
Secondly the participants were asked to discuss about their favourite causes and types of charity: moderators stressed the points of trust, transparency and money management.
Finally the subjects of the charity promotion and of the methods of giving were introduced: participants discussed about their favourite ways to donate and which types of marketing communications are the most suitable for charity organizations.

The Charity Commission had 180,909 charities on its register in December 2010.
In 2009/10 charities received £52 billion but a small group of 833 organizations share the 54% of the sector income(Philantropy UK, 2010).
Top 10 Charities for income 2009 (Charities Direct, 2011)
Just 20% (£10.6 million) of the total income comes from individual donations by adults aged 16+ (CAF, 2010).
Income £M
Income £M
The British Council
Charities Aid Foundation
Nuffield Health
Cancer Research UK
CITB  Construction Skills
The Arts council England
Anchor Trust
The National Trust


It has been a difficult and challenging time for charities over 2008/09 with 41% needing to make cost savings and 28% drawing on reserves (PKF, 2010). Furthermore, the government’s Autumn Spending Review brought in a number of cutbacks which will impact the public’s ability to donate (Mintel, 2010).
Figure 1 - Proportion of adults in the UK giving to charity, UK, 2004/05 – 2009/10 (%) 

Despite of recession the proportion of people giving increased slightly, after decreasing between 2007-09.

Figure 2 - Proportion of donors by size of gift, and median amount given per band, UK,    2007/08 - 2009/10 (% and £)  (CAF, 2010)

The typical amount given also increased, from £10 in 2008/09 to £12 in 2009/10.
The overall amount of £10.6bn given to charity increased in real terms of £400m compared to £10.2bn in 2008/09 however, the total amount given has not recovered to 2007/8 levels (Mintel, 2010).

Trust and transparency are a key concern for consumers as 43% of adults giving to charity question how much money donated is received by the actual recipient (Mintel, 2010). Big organizations are perceived as trustworthy but wasteful however large charities as Cancer Research, remain the favourite ones.
“If you can afford it then I think you should give to charity”. This statement summarizes the opinions of over 30 focus groups members. The under 30’s generally agreed with it even if males would give only to charities that “relate to them” while females stated that charity giving “doesn’t have to be personal”. 
Empathy is more prevalent in females who are more likely to experience guilt and have more highly developed tendency for pro-social behavior (Hoffman, 1977) as a result females are more likely to give to an out-group.
Men are more motivated by a desire to enhance the community and to provide services where government can’t or won’t   (Winterich et al., 2009).
The "Pound-a-Pie" event at Bucks Gateway
Women aged 45 – 64, especially in managerial and professional occupations, continue to be the most likely group to give (68%) and young men aged 16 – 24 the least likely (31%) (Philantropy UK, 2010).
Younger consumers are least likely to donate however, the 16-25 years old customers surveyed  by Mintel are planning to donate over the coming year highlighting the potential for charities to engage this group.
Giving by cash remains the most common method of donation, used by half of all donors (50%) in 2009/10. After increasing between 2005/06 and 2008/09, the proportion of donors using direct debit now remains quite steady at 29%. Those giving larger amounts tend to use cheque/card and direct debit so these methods continued to account for the largest shares of charitable giving (CAF, 2010).

On the basis of research findings we decided that the most profitable found raising event in High Wycombe could have been a theme night be targeting 18-35 years old people and related to a well known and trustworthy organization as Cancer Research UK.
Despite of statistics, which depict them as the less likely to donate, the heavy presence of students in High Wycombe and the positive trend of youth towards giving justified this choice.


>CAF (2010) UK giving 2010 [online]. CAF online. Available from:
>Charities Direct (2011) Top 500 Rank [online]. Charities Direct. Available from:

>Hoffman, M.K. (1977) Sex Differences in Empathy and Related Behaviours. Psychological Bulletin.
>Mintel (2010) Charitable Giving, UK, October 2010. London: mintel International Group LTD.
>Philantropy UK (2010) Uk charitable sector snapshot [online]. Philantropy UK. Available from:
>PKF (2010) 77% of charities feeling the impact of recession, but mood of [online]. PKF. Available from:
>Winterich, K., Mittal, V. and Ross, W. (2009) Donation Behavior toward In-Groups and Out-Groups: The Role of Gender and Moral Identity. Journal of Consumer Research. June.