New Report on Charitable Fundraising


Irish Charities Tax Research and The Ireland Funds collaborated with the Centre for Nonprofit Management, Trinity College to conduct research to explore how nonprofits in Ireland are experiencing the impact of constrained economic circumstances. This research, which was carried out in February 2009, targeted CEOs, Financial Directors and Heads of Fundraising in order to examine how they are managing their voluntary income and their donor relationships. It also looked at how nonprofits are responding to the challenge in adjusting their strategies for 2009 and beyond. A total of 267 organisations participated in the study by completing an on-line survey.

I wonder will this report replicated later in the year, or at least a comparison done, as the information available in February would have been limited and would have mostly been projections of expected income levels. It would be great to see the projected V’s actual.

Today the results were released and I think it generally reflects what we have seen already, decrease in income, decrease in state funding (which I think is an important factor, did it affect results?), increase in demand, here are some highlights:

  • Three-quarters (74.9%) of 267 responding charities believed demand for their services would increase this year.
  • Almost two thirds (64%) expected a decrease in overall income in 2009.
  • Almost half (46.4%) of those who had volunteers working in their organisation stated that volunteer numbers had increased in the past two year.
  • Despite the Recession only a tiny fraction (6.7%) believed that volunteer numbers would decrease.  
  • 85% of responding organisations believed their organisations were threatened by the economic downturn, including the possibility that organisations would “either downsize or cease to exist as a result of the economic situation.”
  • The majority of organisations are planning to increase their fundraising activities in 2009, of which running fundraising events is the most popular choice, a case of more effort being required in order to stand still,

I like the part of this quote that says there are opportunities

“Charities clearly see difficult challenges ahead and whilst some believe that new opportunities may arise most are concerned that they will be unable to meet the new demands facing them in the current economic climate,” the Report states.

Here are what people saw as the opportunities:


I would agree about the need for charities having to be even more creative (let’s face it they can be pretty creative places0. The Report says …Charities “are going to have to become more creative and find new ways of dealing with increased demand for services on the one hand and declining income and staff numbers on the other,”

Download the Full Report Here

A seminar, Charitable Fundraising in an Economic Downturn, to present the findings of the survey and consider the implications for charities and explore possible responses, is being held by the Centre for Nonprofit Management in Trinity College Dublin, on Thursday, May 28th. Email for details

52% US donors plan no decrease in donations

Most of us have seen the Headline Article in Third Sector about the research by RapiData that the Number of donors cancelling their direct debits has ‘skyrocketed’ since start of credit crunch. It is an interesting piece and yes we should pay attention to it. I had hoped to post about it but with my travel schedule this last week I wasnt able to and I’ve missed the boat!

Here is another article that we should also pay attention to though. It is by Caroline Preston and is in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Here is the full text….

Their investment portfolios may be slumping and their jobs less secure, but a majority of Americans who give to charity still plan to donate as much this year as they have in the past, according to a new survey.

More than 52 percent of donors said their gifts would be on par with 2008, while just 17.5 percent planned to give less.

But many Americans are still undecided about their plans for giving this year: Thirty percent of respondents said it was too soon for them to know how much they would give.

That leaves a great deal of room for the economic climate, as well as the effectiveness of fund raisers, to shape donors’ giving patterns this year.

Conducted in January by Cygnus Applied Research, the survey polled 17,365 people who had given in the past to charity. The respondents donated an average of $11,490 last year.

Most people in the survey said they had been touched in some way by the recession. More than 40 percent had lost their jobs or taken a hit in their income, while nearly 60 percent had seen their investments decrease in value.

On the whole, they were relatively pessimistic about the economy’s outlook. The largest share of respondents (39 percent) said they thought it would be at least three years before the economy recovered, while 23.4 percent felt the economy would rebound in less than two years.

But the respondents were prepared to make sacrifices to sustain their philanthropy. Of those who planned to give at least as much in 2009, 50 percent said they were willing to make compromises in other areas of their life to do so.

Most people said the recession would not affect their previous charitable commitments. Of those who were committed to a multi-year gift, 87 percent said they would pay the donations on time.

Meanwhile, donors who were forced to make cuts preferred to give smaller donations, rather than halting their support altogether.

Giving to New Groups

While a recession may not seem like the ideal time to seek out new donors, many people in the survey (42.5 percent) said they would give to a charity they had not supported in the past if someone they knew was seeking the gift. Many donors (40.3 percent) said they were also willing to give for the first time if the charity was working directly to help people hurt by the recession.

Sixteen percent said they would not consider supporting a new organization.
The study also explored whether donors would give again to nonprofit groups that were suffering significant fund-raising woes. People were more likely to make another donation for charities that were alleviating needs aggravated by the recession than they were to other kinds of charities.

Nearly 8 percent of respondents said they would not support a social-service organization if it cut services because of budget problems, while nearly 15 percent said they would stop giving to other types of charities.

Donors in the study said that, even before the recession, they were beginning to make some changes to how they gave.

For many, frequent solicitations were a big turnoff. Forty-one percent said they had stopped donating to at least one nonprofit group in the past five years because they felt overwhelmed by appeal letters, while more than a third said they were concerned organizations spent too much on fund raising.

Donors also said they were giving more to fewer causes (28.6 percent), being more thoughtful about their donations (29.4 percent), and donating more to local charities rather than national or umbrella organizations.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • During the recession, online gifts and product donations are expected to become more popular, while telemarketing, door-to-door canvassing, and direct-mail appeals may be less successful.
  • Starting a new capital campaign during the recession may be a challenge, as just 2.7 percent of respondents said they would give more for this type of project, while 14.6 percent said they would give less.
  • Donors cited matching gifts as a big motivator to give, more so than the opportunity to participate in a monthly giving program or the chance to avoid taxes on the value of a gift by donating through an IRA.

Copies of the study, “Philanthropy in a Turbulent Economy,” will be available soon and can be ordered from, e-mailing, or calling Patricia Sinka at

Talking about the recession doesnt work

great post by Mark Phillips, test results are showing that mentioning the recession in copy reduces appeal income. Well worth the read here

R.F.S. Pt 17: A positive outlook

 In response to a January 6th Guardian Article “Give and Take” which suggested that community schemes bankrolled by big city firms would be facing the chop, Cathy Pharoah and Beth Breeze are letting us know that even though there is less money around people are still supporting charities.  

While the two don’t support their view with any real hard data they are well positioned to make their commentary as Professor Cathy Pharoah is a director and Beth Breeze a researcher at the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy

Here is some of what they had to say:

The credit crunch is far from pushing British charitable giving into freefall, evidence of any collapse in donations remains thin, and there are signs that the philanthropic impulse remains robust.

The NCVO/CAF Individual Giving survey estimates that the British public donated £10.6bn in 2007-08, up 8% on the previous year; last autumn’s BBC Children in Need appeal raised its highest-ever total of £21m in one day; and newly published accounts show increases in corporate charitable activities in 2008.

Donors may have less money to spend, but all spending decisions are questions of priorities and they may not automatically tighten their altruistic belts first.

Charities can help themselves by demonstrating that contributions are both needed and having a measurable impact. Lapsed donors rarely claim they couldn’t afford to carry on giving, but they often say they lost faith in the effectiveness of their giving.

Reports of dramatic falls in charitable giving are overblown and potentially self-fulfilling. People are able to make careful decisions about where their money is best spent, and fatalistic claims may only serve to undermine confidence and deepen any recessionary impact on giving – just at a time when charities’ services are particularly needed.

Read the full article here

R.F.S. 16: TD Bank survey results, key to charitable giving

What makes people give? Keys to charitable giving in tough times

December 2, 2008 (Toronto, ON) – Tough economic times often result in charities’ needs being greater than usual. While Canadians remain full of good intentions about charitable giving, a new survey by TD Bank Financial Group for Children’s Miracle Network has uncovered several keys to inspiring people to follow through with a donation.

“We wanted to pinpoint the triggers that move Canadians from good intentions to good deeds during turbulent times,” said Tim Hockey, President and Chief Executive Officer, TD Canada Trust. “As TD launches its annual fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network, we also wanted to ensure our strategy is aligned with Canadians’ current attitudes about charitable giving.”

The survey unveiled four key factors that would encourage Canadians to give more:

Tax credits matter – Generous tax credits earned the number one spot, with 45 per cent of respondents indicating that they would give more if they got more back. While this is something charities cannot control, it highlights the importance of reminding donors of the connection between giving and getting – particularly as the end of the tax year approaches.

Communicate the need – Canadians are also motivated by a sense that charities and not-for-profits need more resources given the state of the economy. One in three Canadians (32 per cent) say a sense of financial urgency for charities would be enough to lead them to donate more.

If someone I trust asked me to give – I would – For 28 per cent of respondents, the odds of a donation are greater if the ask comes from someone they trust. While this could be a friend, family member, celebrity or established institution, charities should look at using a respected and reliable source to help make Canadians feel more comfortable donating.

Youth need convenience – While only seven per cent of Canadians say convenience is a big factor – for example, contributing through automated monthly donations – that number almost doubles among those aged 18-34 (13 per cent), a significant finding for charities trying to cultivate younger donors for longer-term giving. A 13 per cent increase in charitable giving from any demographic can make a big difference, particularly during challenging times.

 About the survey

From November 10 to November 11, 2008, Angus Reid Strategies conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,002 adult Canadians. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to Statistics Canada’s most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a representative sample of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding

R.F.S. 15: Free Survival Guide

Katya Andresen along with Network for Good are offering a 45 page Fundraising in Hard Times Survival Guide. I havent had a chance to read it yet but Katya writes great stuff so I would certainly say sign up and take a read.

Check it out here and Katyas Non Profit Marketing Blog here