Barriers and Motivations for Charity Donations in Britain

Mismanagement of donations, the need to support war heroes and veterans, and revolutionizing the military charity sector are some of the barriers and motivations the Britons have faced in supporting the armed forces and their associated charities.

1. Mismanagement of Donations

  • As of October 2019, Britain’s ten biggest military charities had combined assets worth £1.4 billion and reserved of £275 million, a move that attracted skepticism that some armed forces associated charities were hoarding cash. An article ran by The Times further revealed that Britain’s 1,500 armed forces charities had an excess of £3.1 billion.
  • Naturally, mismanagement issues have raised barriers among Britons regarding supporting the armed forces and particularly, their associated charities. There have been questions regarding the number of unrestricted reserves that a few prolific charities have built up. Several others admit that they plan to reduce the amounts they hold.
  • There have been embezzlement cases and fraud that have acted as an obstacle in supporting charities associated with the armed forces. In 2015, for instance, a CEO of an armed forces associated charity was put under investigation trial for fraud and theft, which saw the military charity reconstructed. These reconstructions for the military charity would counter cases of collectors operating alone, banking of collected funds, failure to maintain accurate records, and allowing public donations to run in an unsealed and unmarked buckets.

2. The Need to Support War Heroes and Veterans

  • While there have been barriers that have been hindering Britons from supporting the armed forces and their charities, there is still motivation to support the heroes and the veterans that have suffered from physical and psychological damages. The motivation to support these charities stems from the need to help the veterans whose lives changed forever and their families for as long as they need help as they, too, are affected by the wounds of their loved ones.
  • Britons feel obliged to support military-linked charities, and this explains why wealthy military charity groups such as the Royal British Legion recorded a sum income of £163.2m in 2018, while its reserves totaled £70m, which is equal to 40% of the organization’s annual income and enough to run the operations of the organization for six months. While it has been over five years since Britain last deployed regular troops on the ground overseas for a combat mission, the top military’s total assets have continued to soar, going up by 27% in the last quarter of 2019.
  • Having several charity organizations conveniently available has motivated Britons from across the country, as they do not have to travel to a central place to contribute. More so, there are easy steps and processes to guide donors who want to contact these charity organizations to make their donations.

3. Revolution in the Military Charity Sector

  • The revolution in the UK’s military charity sector has been instrumental in creating transparency and encouraging more Britons to contribute to these charities. However, a helpline — Veterans Gateway, has been put up and has proven to be both confusing and a much-needed revolution for the military charity sector. Veterans Gateway is confusing as it leaves two-thirds (64%) of the veterans in danger of giving up as it only provides the first point of contact for veterans seeking support. On the other hand, Veterans Gateway is designed to improve access to welfare services and speed up the bureaucracies’ processing support.
  • Veterans Gateway has revolutionized the military charity donations as it caters to issues beyond housing and finances and extends to provide self-help resources where veterans can receive help and advice on various issues. Many organizations have been motivated to support the Armed Forces community Veterans Gateway, which has also helped speed up the process so the veterans can receive their compensation easier and faster.
  • Unlike in the past, veterans can today access compensation and help via their smartphones or tablets, which has smoothened the process to access compensation, especially for tech-savvy veterans. Based on their location, veterans can access finances and other forms of assistance from the app. The app categorizes all NHIS facilities across the country and over 2,000 charitable organizations.

Home-Based Charities


The unpopularity of home-based charities, accountability, and public mistrust are some of the barriers and motivations of the Britons in supporting home-based charities.

1. The unpopularity of Home-based Charities

  • Unpopular and start-up home-based charities experience barriers to receiving support from Britons for being unpopular. At the end of 2018, quarterly reports from the Charity Commission showcased the registered charities in England and Wales. In the report, it is clear that out of the 168,237 home-based charities, only 1.3% were large and renowned, while the rest were relatively small charity organizations.
  • Studies conducted in 2018 indicate that 97% of the income across the charity sector was raised by big charities, which indicates that small home-based charities need to work twice as hard for their donations. Unpopular home-based charities have a disadvantage, especially when they have to compare or compete with renowned charities, which are already a household name and are exposed to big donors every day.
  • An article published by the Guardian provides that smaller home-based charities are especially facing threats such as running dry on funds, after the coronavirus crisis. The article further provides that at least two-thirds of small home-based charities have had to make significant budget cuts to survive, while one in eight (13%) of these charities could be forced to close by the end of 2020.

2. Accountability of Funds

  • In recent times, cases of donation misconduct, especially in large home-based organizations, have continued to deter donors from contributing to charity. Some donors have reverted to supporting upcoming, community-based organizations as they are more accountable to contributions than large organizations.
  • At least 82% of home-based charities have an average income of less than £100,000, while big charities, which make up for 3%, have an income of not less than £1 million, which accounts for 81% of the sector’s income. Smaller, home-based charity donations are easier to account for than more prominent charities, and more Britons are gravitating towards local charities for that reason and boost the income of these charities.
  • Research indicates that the public has continued to gravitate towards local charities as opposed to big charities. Smaller charities have also been known to offer a more intimate and close-knit working environment, a motivation for donors in Britain.

3. Public Mistrust

  • A recent survey indicates that 6 out of 10 charity heads believe that public trust in the sector has adversely affected the charity sector, which has dropped the public confidence in big and small charities. The media has also perpetrated negative stories about charities, which has diminished public confidence even further. However, small and home-based charities have not been affected much, as the public still has little trust in local charities. Indeed, 59% of home-based charities admit that they have not been affected by negative press.
  • Poor governance of charity sectors has caused a significant lack of confidence from trustee boards, where only 2% of trustees would be confident with charity organizations. Naturally, this has caused a big gap between resources and demand, causing an extra stumbling block as far as income generation is concerned. Thus, organizations have been prompted to run things differently to restore the public confidence and revive trustees’ enthusiasm.
  • Charity organizations, whether home-based or otherwise, are always looking to benefit from public funding. However, the public needs to have its trust revived; otherwise, the ramifications of losing the public’s trust may affect charity organizations. Reviving public trust may require both renowned and home-based charities to publish summary statements of their fundraising and public-engagement activities rather than hiding these details from public scrutiny. All financial contributions exceeding £5,000 should also be made public.

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