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Britons becoming ‘ever more materialistic’ – as Giving Tuesday comes to the UK



Britons are becoming more materialistic and giving less to charities and good causes as the economy recovers, according to a poll conducted as part of the Giving Tuesday campaign which has launched in the UK to encourage people to be more generous.

According to the survey, 59% of people think Britons are often too focused on their own lives to help others, preferring to spend their money on holidays and clothes rather than supporting charities. Just 9% of people said they would give money to charity when asked how they would spend their cash this year.

Around half of respondents said they believe the economy will get stronger next year and that as a result, people should spend more on good causes.

John Low, chief of the Charities Aid Foundation, which conducted the poll, said, “It’s great news that people are feeling more optimistic about the economy and want charities to benefit from the upturn, but disappointing that people feel the country is becoming ever more materialistic at the same time.

“Britons are always ready to help and respond generously when times are tough; let’s keep on thinking of others as things improve. It’s only natural to want to spend a little and splurge but giving to others is good for you and good for the country.”

The poll was done ahead of the launch of the Giving Tuesday campaign which is already popular in the US. It was set up as a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two of the most popular days of the year for consumerism – and aims to counter the manic spending by focusing on giving.

It has attracted support over the years from the likes of Lily Cole, Ringo Star, Heidi Klum and Bill Gates, and takes place on the fourth Tuesday in November.

Henry Timms, co-founder of the Giving Tuesday movement and director of New York-based community centre 92Y, commented, “This movement has inspired and drawn on the tremendous generosity of people in countries around the globe who are committed to making the world a better place.  

“And it has harnessed a tremendous amount of entrepreneurialism and innovation among charities, businesses and communities that are engaging society in new ways.”

Photo: Howard Lake via Flickr

Further reading:

Bill Gates among philanthropists encouraging charity on Giving Tuesday

Social enterprises call on shoppers to spend sustainably on Cyber Monday

Black Friday consumerism typified by tussles at Walmart

Ethical consumerism’s long journey to the mainstream

The Guide to Philanthropy & Giving 2013


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