59% of charities are unaware of their ROI for trust fundraising, finds paper

08 Jul 2021 News

Many charities are unaware of their return on investment for trust fundraising, according to charity leaders responding to KEDA Consulting’s Trust Fundraising Scorecard.

The scorecard received responses from 248 fundraisers from UK based charities of varying causes and sizes. 

The largest proportion, around a third, of responses had success rates between 10% and 40%, while around one in five, 23%, did not know what their success rates were.

Many respondents were unaware of their ROI for trust fundraising, with 59% responding “don’t know”. 

Almost all charities, 94%, felt that they had the potential to increase their grant income. 

However, Max Rutherford, head of policy at Association of Charitable Foundations, said: “With a finite pot of funds available, this isn’t going to be the reality. In fact, as competition probably increases over the next couple of years as we recover from the pandemic, it seems probable that average success rates will decline.”

The total amount of grant income and size of the largest grant received increased in line with the organisation size, but in terms of success rates and ROI, “we don’t see the same correlation between the size of the charity and higher performance”.

The report reads: “As might be expected, the score charities achieved on the Scorecard tended to be higher for the larger organisations. We would expect this to be explained by the increased resource, not just in fundraising staff with specialist skills but supporting systems such as monitoring and evaluation.”

However, charities with a total income of £750,000 to £4.99m had by far the highest ROI figures with 64% achieving a return of more than £10 for every £1 invested.

Ngozi Lyn Cole, advisor to grant-makers and former director at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Charities might find it helpful to develop a fundraising strategy that covers their expected return on investment. This will help to be clear where their points of growth and maturity lie and inform the development of well-aligned business plans.”

More on this research will be available in this month's Fundraising Magazine.

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