Stephen Cotterill: Fundraisers must prevail despite funding shortfalls

08 May 2024 Voices

Through innovation, focusing strategy on diversifying revenue and testing new avenues to market, fundraisers can and must prevail, despite strong economic headwinds.

White piggy bank

Adobe Stock / Dilok

Last month saw a raft of quite frankly depressing statistics around giving, funding and fundraising in general. Recent data tracked by Charity Excellence sees a notable and rapid drop-off in fundraised income across the sector, to the point where “fundraising performance is now worse than it was during the peak of the cost-of-living crisis, which was worse than at the peak of Covid”.

Thoughts around government funding are also tentatively pessimistic. The hope of a massive intervention when it comes to funding the charity sector following a general election later in the year is diminutive and few are finding much comfort in the prospect of a new administration when it comes to financial engagement with civil society.

But it’s not all gloom. Legacy giving, for example, is still gradually increasing with almost one-third (31%) of donors with a will having included a legacy donation in 2023, up from 29% in 2022. Giving among faith communities is also holding steady. And events seem to be going great guns again, highlighted by record fundraised amounts at this year’s London Marathon.

Moreover, advancements in the efficient and effective use of technology as highlighted by our cover feature on customer relationship management systems can lead to better personalised donor stewardship and more joined-up thinking organisation-wide – although this is more of an aspiration than actuality for many charities. And of course, there are the much-purported benefits of AI still to come down the pipeline.

Although grassroots organisations are undoubtedly struggling as the economic crisis persists, collaboration is a positive invention of necessity. Small charities have always struggled but they have always shown stubborn levels of resilience too, and more are combining fundraising efforts to stay afloat.

Despite some traditional channels proving less profitable as the economic environment fails to improve, through innovation, focusing strategy on diversifying revenue and testing new avenues, fundraisers can and must prevail.

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