While it’s easy to focus on doom and gloom
with the continuing uncertainty over Brexit and the economy hanging over us, two
reports came out last month that reveal that, despite some challenges, the
charity sector for one is not standing still.
In fact, the reports – Charities Aid
Foundation’s 2019 UK Giving Report, and the IoF and
PwC’s Fundraising for Impact – show that charities
in general are forging ahead to ensure future sustainability, making positive
changes to build trust and relationships, and working hard to innovate and raise
For Fundraising for Impact, the IoF and PwC
surveyed over 100 fundraising charities of varying sizes. Despite concerns over
increasing costs and how the economy uncertainty might affect how people give
and demand for services, it found charities predicting a 10% growth in income
over the next three years, and continuing to invest.
priorities for the future
and PwC study asked charities to identify their main
fundraising priorities, highlighting the top three as improving the experience
of their current supporters (63%), reaching out to find new ones (59%), and
innovation and trying new things (53%). Exploring new partnerships was also
Crucially, it seems these priorities are also being backed
up financially, with the most important areas of investment stated being finding
new supporters (91%) and improving the experience of current supporters (90%). Three
quarters of respondents to this survey also said their charity’s investment in
generating voluntary income was of the utmost importance.
Challenges to overcome
CAF’s UK Giving 2019 report, which covers data collected monthly from 2016-2018
and comprising more
than 12,000 individual interviews, points to a need to invest in the supporter
experience. It found that the
number of regular givers in the UK fell for the third year in a row during 2018
with 65% of the British public either giving money to charity directly or sponsoring
a friend or family member in 2018, down from 69% in 2016.
Trust has also continued to decline with just
under half (48%) of people in 2018 saying they believe charities to be trustworthy
– down from 51% in 2016. Less people engaged in other social actions too in
2018, such as signing petitions, and taking part in local public consultations.
Those that do give financially are giving
more however, according to CAF, with overall donations levels remaining fairly
static at around £10 billion last year.
Some causes, of course, also fare better than others, with CAF’s report putting children/young
people, and animal welfare in joint top spot for 2018. 26% of people said they had
given to each of these causes in the month before being questioned in 2018. Following
very closely behind is medical research, and in fourth place, hospitals and
hospices. The least popular causes are arts, and sports and recreation, both
scoring just 2%.
The causes that donors
give the biggest donations to however, are somewhat different. Religious causes
saw by far the largest donations in 2018, with an average gift size of £74 – up
from 2017’s £59. Overseas aid and disaster relief and the arts both saw average
donation sizes of £30, while in 2018, donations for schools, colleges,
universities and other education remained the same as 2017 (£21) after falling
from £46 in 2016.
A positive outlook
Encouraging people to
give more, and more people to give then will undoubtedly continue to be a key issue
for charities into the future. But, while the reports highlight numerous challenges,
as well as work to be done, there are clear indications in both that charities
are already proactively working to address them, putting supporters at the
heart of their organisations, and focusing too on innovation and collaboration
– positive news indeed.