Decline in Christmas Giving? Bah Humbug!


Jesus in a manger.  Peace on earth.  Good will to all men?

One of the traditional messages of Christmas has been giving to the poor,  one memorably captured in the Dickens Classic, A Christmas Carol.  The main character, after being visited by three spirits, was shown the error of his miserly ways and ended the tale by bringing a generous Christmas dinner to a poor family in need.

But it seems from a recent US survey that this festive season may be less Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, one and all“, and more Scrooge’s “Bah Humbug“.

Americans plan to spend more this Christmas on consumer goods than last year, but they also plan to give less to charity. Less than half will give any charitable gift – a drop from 51 percent to 45 percent.

But it’s not all discouraging.

A recent UK survey by the Give More campaign confirmed that support for charity is still on the agenda this Christmas. For example

  • 43% of 18 to 24-year-olds were willing to buy presents from websites that give to charity;
  • 36% of women said they would buy gifts from charity shops; and
  • 64% of the over-65s said they would donate spare change.

So what ways can you benefit from such charitable intentions?

It may be too late this year, but why not plan ahead for next year.

1.7bn Christmas cards weresent in Britain last year, with around 25% of those beingcharity cards, with proceeds going to good causes.

You could consider selling cards produced by beneficiaries online or at events in the run up to Christmas. You might also like to explore sites like Charity Christmas Cards, Card Aid or Cards for Charity.

Christmas Carolling is a tradition with a long history, dating back to 4th century Rome.  You might encourage supporters to arrange event Christmas carol services of events for friends, family, neighbours or colleagues, to raise money for your charity.

If you are collecting money on the street, read my quick guide first.

Mulled Wine also has a long tradition, being known in medieval times for its health benefits, and called Ypocras or Hipocris after the physician Hippocrates.

You might like to encourage your supporters to organise a mulled wine and mince-pie parties, and take a collection during the event.

Alms for the Poor has been long associated with Christmas, with some traditions placing an ‘alms box’ in church on Christmas Day, into which worshippers placed a gift for the poor of the parish.

Why not consider a Christmas appeal, asking your supporters to give especially at Christmas to support a particular project or need.  remember to make your approach engaging, specific and sensitive, and be aware of your different audiences.

Consider how to reach donors both by post and online, and make sure that your Christmas ask fits with your broader fundraising strategy.

Remember, with some simple planning, your charity can benefit from the increased feelings of goodwill to all men.

A Decline in Christmas Giving?

Bah Humbug to that.

If you’d like more info or have any questions, do get in touch on bettercharityblog[at] or on Twitter @BetterChairty.


2 thoughts on “Decline in Christmas Giving? Bah Humbug!

  1. Hi Andrew, it’s not really too late for some things! Charity gifts can be purchased online and you can receive an e-mail card to give the recipient. We have our own site but Oxfam also have their version! I would love to host a post from you on my own blog – – if you are interested? Let me know!

  2. Hi there!
    Thanks for the comment and the helpful reminder of the immediate ways to give to charity. My focus in this post was on how charities can make use of Christmas to grow giving to their own cause – and both Word Vision UK and Oxfam are great examples of how to do that!
    I’d love to get involved in the Charity Website blog.
    Do feel free to drop me an email to bettercharityblog[at]

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