Research and analysis

Charitable giving and Gift Aid behaviour amongst better-off individuals

Qualitative research into why people donate, and the use of tax reliefs amongst individuals earning over £100,000 pa.


Qualitative research to understand charitable giving and Gift Aid behaviour amongst better-off individuals

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HM Revenue & Customs commissioned this qualitative research to increase understanding of better-off individuals’ motivations for giving to charity, and to understand the role of tax reliefs within this.

Participants gave to a wide range of local and national charities through both lump sum donations and regular gifts. Motivations for giving included:

  • social influences (such as requests from friends)
  • emotions (such as the feeling of having done a good deed)
  • identity (it being part of the individual’s identity or belief system)
  • outcomes (seeing the difference the donation makes)

Tax relief in itself did not motivate the decision to give, but did seem to incentivise participants to give more generously as they knew that they would be receiving relief at the end of the year. However, participants were not always clear exactly how much they would get back and some were unclear on the details of Gift Aid. Participants found the current system for claiming relief easy to navigate and thought it fair for both the charity and the donor to receive tax relief. Participants felt that without the incentive of tax relief, they might reduce their charitable donations disproportionately to the amount that they would have received in tax relief.

Thirty-two in-depth interviews were conducted in February and March 2015 with individuals who earn over £100,000 per annum and who had claimed tax relief on a charitable donation of at least £100 in 2013 to 2014.

Published 15 July 2015