Stephen Cotterill: 2023 has been a tough year for fundraising

08 Dec 2023 In-depth

This year was tough for fundraising and 2024 is likely to be similarly challenging. So let’s enjoy the yuletide, recoup and come back renewed in the new year.

By GooMmnutt / Adobe

This is the last issue of the year and 2023 has been a tough one for fundraising. Inflation, energy prices, global political and economic uncertainty, cost-of-living crisis – the list of adverse factors impacting giving is long and frankly pretty depressing.

As we move into 2024, it is hard to predict what the new year will bring. General consensus among leaders in the sector seems to be that things will remain difficult and uncertainty will persist for the foreseeable. Stubborn economic clouds weigh heavy on the horizon and the exchequer’s autumn statement last month did little to allay fears of continued pressures on the cost of living. Besides, external factors that the UK has no influence over will likely continue to depress any significant growth and remain unpredictable.

Having said that, a snap election could be on the cards as early as the spring, which might give a boost to people’s optimism about the rest of the year and with that the confidence to resume giving. But that’s not certain either. As much as the current government has failed to offer hope for the charity sector, it’s also hard to know what a Sir Keir Starmer-led administration would do for charities either. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; he hasn’t won yet and who knows? He might turn out to be the sector’s champion.

From a fundraising perspective, opportunities and challenges lie in the increasing application of AI. Charities are beginning to engage more readily in new forms of income such as gaming and live-streamed events. Innovation in these areas will potentially provide growth, as will the ever-expanding legacy market. The time is now to invest in these channels and build on the foundations laid so far.

For now, it’s Christmas, and festive goodwill always brings a boost to fundraising teams. This month’s cover feature looks at the innovative ways charities are engaging with businesses to get the most from the season. So let’s embrace the joy, hope for bumper gifts this yule and come back in the new year with renewed vigour.

@stevejcotterill is the editor of Fundraising Magazine

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