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Charities show optimism about the future for fundraising

20 Oct 2011 News

Just over half of UK charities expect income to increase in 2012, according to a new survey which also suggests a sense of optimism about fundraising worldwide.

Just over half of UK charities expect income to increase in 2012, according to a new survey which also suggests a sense of optimism about fundraising worldwide.

The annual State of the Non-profit Industry (SONI) report released last night at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland, has found that despite economic problems across the globe, charities remain confident that they will be able to perform better next year than this. Technology company Blackbaud surveyed 2,200 charities worldwide for the research.

Some 51 per cent of the 242 UK charities who responded expect charitable income to increase in 2012 on this year, compared with 47 per cent who now believe 2011 will be an improvement on 2010.

Correlating with that, fewer charities in Britain predict that their charitable income will drop: 18 per cent are forecasting their organisations will suffer a drop next year, compared with 24 per cent of respondents who expect 2011 will end up with an overall donations crunch.

However, in the 2010 SONI survey, fundraisers across the globe had proven more optimistic as a whole, with a greater majority predicting the coming year would be an improvement in terms of fundraising and total income. In the 2010 report 59 per cent of British respondents said that they expected total income to experience a year-on-year improvement in the coming year, compared to 54 per cent in this year's report. The fact that now 47 per cent of UK charities expect 2011 to show an improvement on 2010 in terms of overall income shows that either fundraisers had been over-optimistic, or that the economic instability which has wrecked havoc on the Eurozone and the concerns about a double-dip recession could be causing charities to set their expectations a little lower.

But positively for UK fundraisers, British charities expect to increase staff numbers in the coming year (29 per cent) than reduce them (24 per cent).

Worldwide trends

Optimism about charitable income growth next year was widespread across the nine countries surveyed, with as much as 79 per cent of charities in Australia expecting income to increase in 2012. Only in New Zealand did less than half (48 per cent) feel that 2012 will bring bigger bottom lines. Still even in New Zealand, less than one in five charities expect charitable income to actually reduce next year.

In most countries a majority of charities expect that demand for services and expenditure will also increase in 2012.

“There is an overriding positive feeling about next year,” said Adrian Cutcliffe, Blackbaud marketing manager who presented the survey results.

Getting and keeping donors remains the major concern of fundraisers across the globe, according to the report. Acquisition, retention, managing relationship and showing impact all figured prominently in the overall list of what charities view as critical challenges.

Charities in most countries, except Canada, predicted that government grant income would decline in 2012 and many also expected major donors to be an area of growth next year.

Commenting on the evident pressures fundraisers feel about recruiting new donors, Prof Adrian Sargeant said: “We should move away from short-term measures of acquisition performance such as the cost per donor, response rate, average donation, etc. and focus on spending a little more to recruit donors that will have a higher lifetime value.”

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