Long-term donors are key to surviving economic crisis, charities warned

Charities should nurture loyal supporters to survive the looming recession, fundraisers at a conference in London have been told.

John Studzinski, a philanthropist and investment banker, told delegates at the Raising Funds from the Rich event this week that the economic conditions meant that donor behaviour would become polarised and charities would lose ‘fair-weather' supporters.

Loyal donors would want to help charities succeed, he said: "If you approach them appropriately, those who care most passionately about your work will stand by you and see you through this period."

Studzinski predicted major donors and foundations would cut back on grants because of their reduced income and donors would become more aggressive about seeing their money go towards the cause and not into overheads.

He also said that corporate giving would fall and warned charities not to rely on it for income. "Don't take companies too seriously - they tend to see you as a marketing tool," he said. "They will cut back on your donations before they cut back on people."

Governments are also likely to reduce community spending and cut charity funding, according to Studzinski. But charities should not panic, he said.

"This is going to be a tough period for charities, but I think that we can learn a lot and emerge stronger."

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