15m people donated to animal charities in UK last year

Animal welfare is the UK’s most popular cause for donating to charities, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

An estimated 15 million people chose to give money to animal charities last year – more than a quarter of the UK’s population, with an average monthly donation of more than £20.

Nearly three in ten (28%) donors gave to this cause area in the past four weeks in 2021 according to CAF’s UK Giving report – the largest study of household donor behaviour in the UK.

Animal welfare has been the most popular cause since 2018, when it initially shared first place with children or young people. Since then, it has consistently topped the cause areas, and the proportion giving to animal welfare has increased from 26% in 2018 to 28% in 2021.

The average monthly donation made to animal welfare charities has also increased substantially over the past five years to June 2022. In 2016, the average donation towards animal causes was £12.23, rising to £14.59 in 2018 when it emerged as the most popular cause, and reaching £20.52 in recent months. Donations to animal charities accounted for 9% of the total value of donations given to charity in 2021.

Average donation to animal welfare charities (in £)2:


















Following animal welfare, the next most popular causes are children or young people (23%) and medical research (21%). However, the numbers choosing to donate to these cause areas have been falling since 2019.

Alison Taylor, CEO of CAF Bank and Charity Services, Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“Even during challenging times, the public support and enthusiasm for certain causes is unwavering, particularly when it comes to animals.

“Donating to animal charities can be seen as a way of protecting a vulnerable group, given animals are effectively voiceless and have few rights or laws protecting them. This cause is also diverse, incorporating the protection of wild animals as well as pets.

“This cause area can also include supporting environmental charities that protect the habitats of animals worldwide, including endangered species.”

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