Unsurprisingly, the Institute of Fundraising has received a large volume of calls about the tsunami over the past few weeks. While the volume of calls has quietened down a little, members of the public are still clamouring to ask what they can do to raise money for the appeal, and fundraisers remain concerned about the effect the tsunami will have on their own fundraising incomes.
Last week - one month on from Boxing Day - the Institute sent out an email inviting members to take part in a survey about the effect of the tsunami on their fundraising appeals over the past month. The survey is intended to record the short-term effect on donation levels and to capture your thoughts and concerns on both the positive and negative implications of this appeal on your fundraising activities more widely. It will be repeated six months on as we work to track the impact on fundraisers throughout 2005.
While it is clear that this appeal has spurred the UK public to dig into their pockets and give, there is concern about the effect on the many thousands of charities that work to support myriad good causes that are entirely unrelated to this appeal. Will there be a diversion of individual giving, rather than an additional sum given by new and existing donors? Should you be adapting your fundraising agenda for the early part of this year in respect of this appeal? What changes, if any, have you or your organisation made in this respect? Are you concerned about missing out on support from corporates this year?
However, many charities see the tsunami appeal as an opportunity to maintain the momentum behind charitable giving. The tsunami has reminded many people who don't donate usually how good it can feel to give, even if it's a case of just a few pounds. Whether on the front page of our newspapers, at dinner parties or walking down the street, people are talking openly about their giving in a way that fundraisers have seldom seen before.
Such high-profile media coverage of tax relief within the crisis appeal could create a long-term increase in the awareness of Gift Aid. It has already occasioned much debate in the sector press.
We are interested in what you think. All fundraisers are invited to complete this survey and if you have yet to take part, go online at www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk.