Fundraising Pulse…a screen shot

The Public Communications Centre attended the Fundraising Ireland Conference in Croke Park on Thursday the 26th of March and while there they conducted a quick poll to gauge the mood of fundraisers.

A total of 125 organisations were present and a sample of 49 questionnaires was returned.

I would urge caution though in reading this. The low numbers involved certainly don’t make the survey statistically valid and as such the results should be seen as anectodatal. It is also unclear who answered on behalf of the organisations, was it a CEO, Fundraising or Financial Director, or was it an entry level emplpyee, which begs the question how close to reality the results actually are.

And finally the cynic in me asks what PPC’s objective was in carrying out this research at the event?!

Still it is no harm to take a look, here is a summary of the findings. If you want the full report email

Change in income

Most organisations (86%) expect the overall income of their organisation to change in the coming year.

More expect a decrease (53%) than an increase (32%), and most expect a 5-10% increase (25%).

This expectation differs according to the size of the total fundraising income (excluding statutory) of the organisation: the smaller the fundraising budget, the greater the likelihood of expecting a change in the overall income, the greater the expectation for a decrease rather than an increase in income, and the greater the expected percentage drop in income.

Income streams hit hard

Nine in ten organisations (92%) identify income streams that are being hit especially hard.

‘Government’ (55%) tops the list, followed by ‘Corporates’ (33%), and ‘Events’ (16%). ‘Individuals’ (14%) and ‘High donors’ (12%) to a much lesser extent.

The smaller organisations are more likely to report their income streams being hit especially hard.

The larger the fundraising budget, the broader the spread of income streams that are being hit.The smaller organisations are being most significantly affected by ‘Government’.

Income streams increasing

On the other hand, two-thirds (66%) expect an increase in certain income streams; especially ‘Regular givers’ (25%), followed equally by ‘Individuals’ (19%) and ‘Events’ (19%) and then ‘Churches’ (17%).

The smaller organisations are more likely to claim that ‘no income streams are holding up or increasing’ (41%). Only 6% of organisations with a fundraising income of ‘1m or more’ make the claim.

Furthermore, the smaller organisations list less income streams that are holding up or increasing compared to the larger organisations.

The smaller organisations also highlight different streams as commendable performers: ‘Regular givers’ (23%) and ‘Events’ (23%); compared to ‘Individuals’ (35%), ‘Regular givers’ (29%) and ‘Churches’ (24%) for the larger organisations.

Number of fundraising staff

Half of the organisations (53%) have not made changes, or are not planning to make changes, to the number of fundraising staff it employs. The main change is towards an increase (31%) rather than a decrease (2%).

Larger organisations are more likely than smaller organisations to report a change (41%) in the  number than smaller organisations (30%), but any change is only of a positive nature (41%).

Meanwhile, smaller organisations are less likely to report change, but they state a ‘decrease’ (4%) which does not happen with the larger organisations; however, the smaller organisations’ claiming an increase (26%) is greater than this decrease.

Reduction in fundraising programmes

Most organisations (74%) have not eliminated, or do not plan to eliminate or significantly reduce, involvement in any of its fundraising programmes.

There is a similar pattern of response among both the larger and the smaller organisations.

One fifth (9 organisations) have done so or are planning to do so; with two main types of fundraising programmes affected: ‘Events’ (6) and ‘Direct mail’ (5), followed by ‘DRTV’ (3).

‘Events’ is the main programme that is being reduced or considered for reduction regardless  of the size of the fundraising income of an organisation.

Increase in fundraising programmes

Most organisations (86%) have increased, or are planning to add or significantly increase, activity in fundraising programmes; only 6% has not or does not plan to do so.

There is a similar pattern of response among both the larger and the smaller organisations.

A broad spectrum of fundraising programmes was mentioned as attention for increased activity. The three most popular ones being ‘Corporate’ (51%), ‘Events’ (45%) and ‘Trusts & foundation grants’ (45%); followed by ‘Public appeals/token sales’ (31%), ‘Statutory grants’ (26%), ‘High donors’ (26%), ‘Donor acquisition’ (24%) and ‘Donor relations’ (21%).

There are similarities as well as differences depending upon the size of the fundraising income of the organisation.

Both sets mention three main fundraising programmes: ‘Corporate’, ‘Events’ and ‘Trusts & foundation grants’. In addition, the larger organisations expect to equally increase activity around ‘Legacies’.

Overall, the larger organisations are involved in a broader range of programmes, answering for all except ‘Facebook (website)’.

Thanks to Harvey at 2into3 for sending it on


3 thoughts on “Fundraising Pulse…a screen shot

  1. Conor, as you describe it, the ‘cynic in you’ maybe just needs a good big hug. You can breathe easily – no one is claiming the survey is statistically valid. There, doesn’t that feel better already. However, we do very clearly state in the report that our research is simply a snapshot view of a sample of fundraisers who chose to engage with the research on the day of the conference. It was pitched as a peer review for those who attended. Nothing more, nothing less. We haven’t press released the findings nor have we issued it to the media – it has been sent to those who responded and to the many who asked for it on the day. Why we did it? – ask anyone who knows us – we have doing innovative and helpful initiatives for the benefit of the sector for many years, including establishing the first legacy promotion consortium, running the legacy monitor, undertaking the first national charity awareness surveys (NPAS), sharing key information regularly, and running a half dozen information seminars on a range of topics of interest to non-profits. At a Fundraising Ireland seminar in January I saw Stephen Pidgeon ask the audience for a show of hands in relation to what was happening to their fundraising streams these days and we thought a secret ballot might just give a more accurate picture. That’s all. Of course we also thought it might promote our services a little – which includes audience and donor research. Now, go and demand that hug – you deserve it.

    • John, thanks for the comment it certainly helps put the report in context. As I am sure you can appreciate people tend to dip in and out of blog posts and can easily take headlines and highlighted points to be gospel and may not take time to read the detail of a report. So I feel justified in urging caution to readers before sharing the main points of the report. If you have read my blog before you will understand why I tend to do that, it certainly wasnt to be critical or to make you feel like you had to defend yourself, it was simply to urge caution. I am glad to see you acknowledge there was some commercial objective. There is nothing wrong with that, you dont need me to tell you that, I just wish people were more open and honest about it. As for the hug comments… well not sure why you felt they were necessary so we will just say no more about that!

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