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Pound and dollar

How the cost of living is impacting your favourite charities

Robin Peake Robin Peake
5 min

"We see the news. How you keep changing Prime Minister. The cost of living crisis. And we think, if people in the UK have money problems, how can they possibly keep funding what we do here?"

Those words were spoken to me last month in Togo, by the leader of a flourishing Bible translation project. As he asked me this question, I was struck that the economic uncertainty we face in the UK because of the increase in cost of living, was translating into mission uncertainty for this Bible translator and his team.

He’s not alone. Right now, many of our brothers and sisters across the world are worried that the funding they have been told they can rely on, won’t come. Our increased cost of living could impact charity work and gospel mission funded by British giving. 

In my role as Director for Supporters for Wycliffe Bible Translators, I seek to connect Christians who love their Bible to support local Bible translators around the world as they translate God’s word for the 1.5 billion people who don’t have it in their language yet. This urgent and long-term work is gathering momentum. But the cost of living crisis has the potential to slow down progress - and the same will be true for many of your favourite charities.

Wycliffe Togo


Here’s three ways the current economic situation is impacting charities:

1. The cost of living will mean some people giving less

When my wife and I were visited by our mortgage advisor to buy our first house, he asked us all sorts of questions about our expenditure - how much we spend on groceries, eating out, holidays and leisure. But he didn’t ask one question about our giving. When I asked why that was, he replied, ‘because that’s discretionary. If push comes to shove, you will scale it back.’

That’s the concern of many charities right now - that as people face rising energy bills, rent and mortgages, their budgets will be squeezed and they will seek to reduce the amount they give to supporting charities.

All of us are facing decisions about how we spend our money, but as Christians, will giving be one of the first places we look to make cuts, or one of the last? Many of us choose to set aside some income as savings for a rainy day. Might we choose to use some of those savings to help our favourite charities as they weather the storm ahead? 

2. Inflation reduces the value of our donations 

Even if we are able to continue giving the same amount that we have been, it’s a harsh reality that the value of our donations are worth less. Inflation means that if we’re to match the £10 a month gift we set up last Christmas, we’d need to increase it to £11.09.

Charities are not protected from increased energy bills to the extent that households are. They are likely paying more in salaries for the same staff. And yet many are facing increased demand on their much-needed services.

So how can you help? Regular giving helps charities budget and plan more effectively, so if it’s not a practice you’re into, consider switching to monthly giving, especially if your income is steady each month. And if you’ve been fortunate enough to receive an inflationary pay rise in work, why not consider increasing your monthly donations to your favourite causes by the same percentage?

3. A weak pound reduces ‘purchasing power’ overseas

Just as the strength of the pound affects how much you pay for a meal out on holiday, so too does it affect Christian workers overseas, and charities who send funds internationally to support local partners in their work.

In the aftermath of September’s mini-budget that saw the pound fall to a record low of £1.03 against the dollar, trustees of international charities everywhere began to tot up just how much extra it would cost them to meet their commitments to partners. Charities who send funds overseas often do so by converting it into dollars

Thankfully the pound has recovered somewhat against the dollar. But could you pray that it continues to? There is much mission work happening in Europe and the Global South that is dependent on the strength of our pound. Pray for those in positions of power in politics and economics, that they would make wise decisions.

Reasons to be hopeful

Despite the challenges that the cost of living crisis poses for Christian workers and charities over the next 12 months, I believe there is every reason to be hopeful. God is not in crisis. His purposes are not limited by our resources.

The next 12 months offers Christians the opportunity to trust God with the resources he has given to us, whether they be much or little. Supporting Stewardship’s Cost of Living Response Fund is a great place to start. Use Stewardship’s Budget Planner tool to see where there might be extra ‘give’ in your monthly expenditure.

Christians are bucking the trend. Whilst a recent CAF report showed that giving was down 6% in 2021, Stewardship’s own data from its largely Christian base showed an increase of 8% by individual givers to the partner churches and charities they fund. Long may this continue! 

Counter-cultural generosity is not unique to Christians in the UK. Last month at a church in Togo, one of the world’s poorest countries, I was privileged to be invited to a Togolese church. I watched in awe as they took up the offering, which involved singing, dancing and ear-to-ear grinning. I was touched to watch men, women and children boogie their way around the church as if in a massive conga line, passing by the collection box at the front of church and placing into it their offering to the Lord, given with joy.

Wycliffe Togo Celebration

As I watched my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ giving out of the little they had, from what’s considered one of the world's poorest countries, I was reminded that giving is not an economic decision - it is an act of worship.

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Written by

Robin Peake

Robin Peake is the Director for Supporters at Wycliffe Bible Translators, seeking a world where everyone can know Jesus through the Bible. He loves connecting generous people with causes that matter, having previously held roles with Home for Good and Innovista. Robin is one of the leadership team at Barton Community Church, a church plant on an Oxford council estate. He is a grant-making trustee at the Childs Charitable Trust and the founder of Homes with Purpose, a charity who provide homes for gospel workers and vulnerable people in housing need. 


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