Individual giving campaigns stable or outperforming during crisis, says agency

28 May 2020 News

Individual giving campaigns have remained stable or raised more than forecast during the current crisis, research from a fundraising agency has found.

Data from Woods Valldata covering 18 charities and 34 campaigns found that responses to cash campaigns in March and April performed 25% better than expected. 

The agency said that this was especially driven by emergency coronavirus appeals, which performed 40% better than forecast. On average, they registered a 13.04% response rate (against a forecast of 9.31%) and the average gift amounted to £33 (against the expected £21).

Like-for-like “warm” campaigns performed similarly to 2019, with an average response rate of 10%, and the average gift amount increasing slightly from £20 to £21.

The report says: “This illustrates the welcome stability of charitable giving in the UK, despite the difficult circumstances that many people, and the nation as a whole, find themselves in. 

“It is clear that responses to cash individual giving asks remain at least stable or, in the case of Covid-19-specific campaigns, are outperforming.”

It also suggests that this could be because the supporter base for individual giving cash campaigns tends to be older, and thus more financially stable and less impacted by the crisis.

It adds: “As lockdown continues, and giving channels such as retail and events are unavailable, it is possible that responding to direct marketing charitable giving campaigns fulfils a desire to donate during times of national crisis.”

Direct debit cancellations stabilising

Meanwhile, Woods Valldata registered a 12% increase in direct debit cancellations between February and April compared to the same period in 2019.

However, this trend may be stabilising. Direct debit cancellations were up in February (7,921 against 6,615 in February 2019) and March (9,618 against 7,785), but decreased again in April (7,195 against 7,760 last year).

The report says: “Regular givers are typically a younger demographic who are more at risk from reduced income. It’s not surprising then to see a momentary increase in cancellations. The reduction in April is promising.”

Finally, the report found an increase in donations made via credit card and online channels compared to last year, although cheque payments still remain the vast majority.

Dan Fluskey, head of policy and internal affairs at Institute of Fundraising, said: “There are encouraging signs about the continued commitment of givers and the public’s response to emergency appeals even in the most difficult and challenging of times”.

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