Fundraisers in EU confident about future despite wider financial crisis

Most respondents to a European Fundraising Association poll expect voluntary income levels to stay the same or increase in 2013, with only one in four predicting a fall

More than two-thirds of charities in the European Union have managed to maintain or increase their voluntary income during the Eurozone crisis, according to a poll.

The European Fundraising Association carried out a survey of 17 of its 19 member bodies in November and December. Of the respondents, 41 per cent said most voluntary sector organisations in their country had maintained voluntary income levels during the crisis and 24 per cent said income levels had increased. More than a quarter, 29 per cent, said voluntary income levels had fallen, and 6 per cent said they did not know.

Almost half of respondents, 44 per cent, predicted that income levels would stay the same in 2013, with 25 per cent suggesting they would rise. Nineteen per cent predicted a drop in this form of income.

The EFA consists of 19 national fundraising associations in 18 European countries, including the UK’s Institute of Fundraising and the German Fundraising Association. The 17 associations participating in the survey represent more than 1,100 fundraising organisations.

The survey results were included in a report, Fundraising in Europe: A Decade of Change, which also explored key challenges faced by voluntary fundraising in the past 10 years.

The most common problem according to the report was a shortage of fundraising skills, with 41 per cent of respondents citing this as an issue, followed by public collection licensing restrictions, the global economic crisis and tax relief on charitable donations.

The biggest concerns were continued global economic instability, demands for greater transparency and accountability from donors, and public trust in charities. EFA members said they considered the greatest challenges of the next decade to be donor retention and economic instability.

When asked about the most important changes being sought from national governments, half of respondents called for a more beneficial tax relief system for charity supporters.

Becky Gilbert, vice president of the EFA, said: "Charities in Europe have weathered a decade of extremes in fundraising, from a global downturn to some of the most successful campaigns in history. While traditional fundraising methods remain the most significant sources of income, the European fundraising community acknowledges the need to make better use of social media and other emerging techniques in the future."

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