Stephen Cotterill: The more things change, the more they stay the same

07 Jan 2019 Voices

Our biennial directors survey finds that it’s status quo – for better and worse.

I suppose the startling thing about this year’s Top 100 Directors Survey is that there is nothing startling about it. After the last few years of turbulence, scandals, data protection initiatives and general upheaval, it is pretty astonishing that giving has remained fairly constant. Even those charities caught-up in major fundraising scandals have seen little change in the growth of their overall income.

And it’s not only among the very biggest charities. Those lower down the list have also seen steady growth, with all but two raising over £10m. Two years ago, ten of the 100 raised less than that benchmark.

Admittedly, these figures are taken from the 2016/17 tax year, so the fallout of the safeguarding scandals, for example, would not show up. However, Olive Cooke’s death was over three years ago. As was the Etherington Review and the fallout from that. Somehow, fundraisers have managed to ride this out and carried on carrying on. And for its part, the public has made its assessment of the tabloid fervour and chosen to keep giving.

OK, so people aren’t giving proportionally more relative to income than they have done in the past, but they haven’t for 35 years, so that’s not really a surprise. And the donor pie in terms of numbers of people giving doesn’t appear to be getting bigger either. But even when uncertainty around Brexit looms and austerity continues to gnaw at the socio-economic fabric, people still give.

Other constants in the survey are not so welcome – diversity is still as poor as always and although women represent half of all senior roles, that is a shoddy reflection when compared with the nearly 70/30 split in junior fundraising roles. But equality is a slow process and fundraising is a big ship to turn. Hopefully by the next survey in 2021, there will be some advancement on this front.

On a final note, after four years of diligent service, Fundraising Magazine’s senior reporter Hugh Radojev is moving on. We wish him all the best and perhaps the upper echelons of the IoF and Fundraising Regulator will rest a little easier at night, now that that particular thorn has been plucked from their side.



More on