Generosity of islanders undiminished by Covid

GUERNSEY people were the most generous in the Crown Dependencies in supporting charities during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

The GSPCA's Animal Antics event at Beau Sejour was held towards the end of February last year, not long before the island went into lockdown. It was one of the few 'in person' fundraisers to take place during the year, which saw many occurring online. Pictured is GSPCA manager Steve Byrne with bearded dragon, Mr Thatch. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29411834)
The GSPCA's Animal Antics event at Beau Sejour was held towards the end of February last year, not long before the island went into lockdown. It was one of the few 'in person' fundraisers to take place during the year, which saw many occurring online. Pictured is GSPCA manager Steve Byrne with bearded dragon, Mr Thatch. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29411834)

In total, the three Crown Dependencies spent £77m. on a range of good causes, with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man contributing £29m., £22m. and £26m. respectively, according to survey estimates.

Per capita, however, adults in Guernsey were the most generous and gave £420 compared with £380 in the Isle of Man and £360 in Jersey.

Island Global Research, which conducted the study, said the estimates were sensitive to assumptions, including people remembering what they had donated, but it was possible to prepare estimates.

IGR managing director Lindsay Jefferies said the work also evidenced a complex picture of how the third sector had been impacted by the pandemic.

‘It is likely some organisations will have fared better than others,’ she said.

Association of Guernsey Charities chairman Malcolm Woodhams said the survey reaffirmed the value that islanders placed on the voluntary and charitable sectors.

‘However, this report confirms our previous assessment that the effects of the Covid emergency reduced many people’s ability to broadly support charities in terms of donating money or volunteering their time,’ he said.

‘While some organisations were able to temporarily pause their services and reduce their operating costs, many have reported a significant increase in demand for their services.

‘We have reasonable concerns about the degree to which the overall reduction in income may affect how successfully some organisations can satisfy demand through this year.’

The impact of the pandemic saw fewer people donating to charities last year, but those who did generally gave more than previously.

It found that fewer people gave money, particularly on an ad-hoc basis.

But a quarter said they had donated more because of Covid.

While in Guernsey the number contributing more than £200 was up 8% on 2018, in Jersey the number giving more than £500 was up 10% and in the Isle of Man the number donating between £101 and £500 was up 13%.

In terms of smaller gifts, fewer respondents reported providing £100 or less, while in Jersey this number was down by 16%.

Given the situation during the year, the survey also found that there was a dependence on ad-hoc donations, although opportunities for these were reduced, highlighting a potential vulnerability for the sector.

While the number of donors was down, because the amount they gave was higher than usual, the total amount given to charity was not adversely impacted.

However, the report noted: ‘It is worth remembering that not all of these donations will have been to charities operating on-island and that around 30% said they had specifically given money to support Covid-19 efforts.’

Online fundraising played a key role during the year, with one in four Guernsey residents saying they took part in an online event, compared with one in three in Jersey and one in five in the Isle of Man.

But the pandemic had a negative impact on volunteering, particularly with those who did so regularly, noted the survey.

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