Institute of fundraising: Fundratios survey shows a focus on committed income

There's no escaping it: charities are going to have to work harder than ever for their money.

Long-term investment in securing committed income underpinning organisations' viability is the trend that emerges from the Fundratios 2004 study.

The benchmarking project operated by the Centre for Interfirm Comparison and the Institute of Fundraising was published at the end of 2004.

Forty-one charities took part, with a combined voluntary income of £1.4bn.

Last year also saw a pilot study, supported by CIFC and CAF, incorporated within Fundratios, showing results from 13 Scottish charities, with a total voluntary income of £31m.

Fundratios 2004 shows that the major growth areas for those organisations taking part in the main project were in committed giving, where income has grown by 17 per cent over the past five years; not just in face-to-face recruitment (which accounted for 10 per cent of new donors), but also from direct mail, telemarketing and door-to-door. Income may have soared, but so too have costs, reflecting the level of initial investment needed to secure new long-term, committed donors.

Corporate giving has been another area of growth (8 per cent over the year). This has been a particularly strong area of growth (16.8 per cent) for Scotland, where it contributed 10.8 per cent of total voluntary income.

Local fundraising has seen a fall in income, although this is another area where Scotland shows that a strong sense of community supports fundraising efforts, yielding an average of 15.6 per cent of all voluntary income. Growth in legacy income has slowed, coinciding with increased investment in promoting legacies as a means of giving; as a result, income has fallen in relation to investment.

Both main and pilot study demonstrate the increased importance that charities attach to the diversification of income sources.

Over-reliance on one source of income has shown risk for some participants, and it is possible to see a growing level of investment in securing predictable sources of committed income.

The success of the Scottish Pilot study is one we would like to continue. Other discrete areas, either by sector (arts, education or health) or scale could support additional areas of research. We would like to hear from any organisations interested in taking part in a further pilot for 2005.

- Andrew Watt, head of policy, For further info, contact Andrew Watt 020 7840 1000; Mike Moffat 0196 284 4144; or Maureen Harrison 0131 668 4949.

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