Tech-savvy pensioners lead surge in online charity donations, research claims

Golden oldies with Internet smarts are behind a rise in online donations to charity, according to new research from the website JustGiving conducted in partnership with ICM Research.

Digital giving to religious organisations in particular has soared, increasing by 128 per cent over the last five years, while selfless contributions to arts and culture groups trebled in the same period, the study found.

The survey took in over 2,000 adults, finding the over-60 age demographic to be the most generous –average yearly web-based donations stood at £135 per person, but people aged 55-to-64 typically gave £157 each, and over-65s volunteered £182 for good causes. In all, the data shows that OAPs are likely to give about £50 more than younger folk each year.

As a result of the findings, religious figures are stepping out to urge their peers to embrace the possibilities of technology.

"To keep up with their congregations, churches and faith groups need to catch up on modern methods of charitable giving beyond the plate and direct debit," said retired bishop the Rt. Rev. Stephen Lowe

"People want the ability to respond immediately to need in a world which is increasingly cashless, which is why so many of them are now giving online," he added.

JustGiving pointed out that the surge in online religious donations was likely to have been boosted partly by Zakat, the Islamic practice that stipulates ongoing donations to charity.

It is thought that Zakat alone generated close to £1million in the last two years, with the huge rise partially attributed to the recent natural disasters affecting areas with large Muslim populations like Pakistan.

Anne-Marie Huby, managing director of JustGiving, ventured that the rise in online religious giving and the increase in digital donations by older people was likely to be linked.

"As the huge rise in online religious giving shows, digital giving is now reaching older and more traditional segments of the giving public. It shows the nation is wising up to the power of technology to make giving easier and more tax efficient," she said.

Recent research has also found that older generations are likely to compose stronger digital passwords when compared to their more youthful counterparts.