Most charities have seen a decrease in cash donations, finds IoF survey

05 Jun 2018 News

Some 70 per cent of charities have seen a decrease in cash donations over the last three years, according to survey results published today by the Institute of Fundraising. 

The survey results, released by the IoF as part of its submission to the HMRC’s consultation on cash and digital payments which closes today, showed that 171 of 245 member organisations surveyed reported either a significant or slight decrease in the volume of cash donations since 2015. 

The survey also showed that some 86 per cent predicted that cash donations would either significantly or slightly decrease further over the next five years. 

The government, in its call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy, predicted that by 2026 cash payments will account for just 21 per cent of all financial transactions. This is down from over 60 per cent of payments by volume in 2006. 

Survey respondents were also asked about the size of their organisation in terms of total annual income: 49 per cent said they worked for organisations turning over between £1m and £10m a year;  29 per cent worked for organisations turning over up to £1m a year and 20 per cent worked for organisations with an annual income in excess of £10m a year. 

Contactless payment systems

The IoF survey also asked respondents about contactless payment systems for accepting donations; namely, whether or not they’d used such a system before, and if they would be trialling it in the near future. 

Over 74 per cent of respondents said they had not tried contactless systems to take donations yet. Of those respondents, over 56 per cent gave the reason for not having done so as “it costs money to buy the equipment”. A further 13 per cent didn’t feel they “have the skills” to make a system work for them in a fundraising context. 

However 72 per cent of total respondents subsequently said they would be looking to use contactless payment technology to take donations in the future. Only 13 respondents, or just under 6 per cent of the survey, said they would not consider trying contactless technologies. 

Contactless giving ‘an opportunity’ for charities

Respondents to the survey were buoyant about the “potential future changes” and the “preferences/behaviours of donors” in the future. 

When asked whether or not they saw a continuing shift away from cash to contactless and digital donations as an opportunity or a threat, over 71 per cent of respondents said they viewed it as either a slight or significant opportunity for fundraisers. 

More than 80 per cent of respondents believe that contactless and digital payments give donors the potential to donate higher amounts of money per donation, while a further 71 per cent said that contactless payments were a more secure means of donation than cash. 

More than half of respondents also felt it was important for charities to go cashless, as many businesses will be making the move themselves. 

Writing in a blog obout the survey findings, Stephanie Siddall, policy manager at the IoF, said: “Looking at the feedback from IoF members, the direction of travel is clear – charities already seeing a decrease in the percentage of donations given in cash, they expect the decrease to continue and the majority think that they will be using contactless payments in the near future”. 

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