Who donates to food banks?

January 12, 2021, 7:21 PM GMT+0

In YouGov Profiles, we collect data on how Brits interact with charities and it shows us that 2% of them have donated (financially or otherwise) to food banks over the last three months.

People donating to food banks are most likely to live in an urban location – though somewhat less so than the general public (67% vs. 80% nat rep). They’re also more likely to live in towns and their surrounding areas (22% vs. 10% nat rep).

Those who donate to food banks are more likely to be retired (33% vs. 24% of the public) and slightly less likely to be in full or part-time work (44% vs. 51% nat rep). Donors are most likely to be over-55 (42% vs. 38% nat rep) and less likely to be aged 18-34 (23% vs. 28% nat rep). Women over the age of 55 are particularly over-represented in this group: (32% vs. 20% nat rep).

Along income lines, members of this group are less likely to be from lower-income backgrounds (21% vs. 29% nat rep) – perhaps unsurprisingly - and slightly more likely to be from middle income backgrounds (36% vs. 33% nat rep). On the other hand, those with higher incomes do not necessarily feel a greater sense of obligation to donate (12% vs. 13% nat rep).

More broadly, food bank donations tend to come from people who are regularly involved with charities. One in four (26%) food bank donors are current members of a charitable organisation. Just over two fifths (44% - up from 20% nationally) claimed to have made a financial donation directly to a charity over the same period.

Those who give to food banks are disproportionately likely to engage in other charitable activities. Some 44% of those polled in the past 90 days say they make regular financial contributions (vs. 21% nat rep), two in five (39%) said they donated something to a charity shop (vs 26% nat rep), and a quarter they make ad-hoc donations – such as putting money in a collection box – on a regular basis (25% vs. 20% nat rep).

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