UK charities 'less bullish about funding than North American counterparts'

Martin Campbell of Blackbaud says the fundraising software firm's report on the non-profit industry shows the least optimistic charities are those relying on government

Martin Campbell
Martin Campbell

Charities in the UK and mainland Europe are feeling significantly less optimistic about funding next year than those in North America and New Zealand, a survey has found.

The 2012 State of the Nonprofit Industry report, published by the fundraising software company Blackbaud today, surveyed 1,516 charities, including 301 in the UK.

The report says 77 per cent of charities in the UK are optimistic about having enough money to fund their work next year, compared with 89 per cent in Canada. In both New Zealand and the US, 87 per cent of charities feel positive about next year.

The lowest levels of optimism are found in Germany (66 per cent) and France (67 per cent). In Europe, more charities in the Netherlands (83 per cent) and Italy (80 per cent) feel optimistic about 2013 than in the UK.

In his presentation of the survey results at last week’s International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands, Martin Campbell, Blackbaud Europe’s director of strategy and innovation, said this year’s results showed a slightly gloomier picture than last year.

The report says that 83 per cent of charities expected last year to see an increase in funding. The same question was not asked this year, but 81 per cent overall are optimistic about being able to deliver their services within their expected budget.

Campbell told the conference: "Generally, the most optimistic charities are those that draw income from individual and corporate donations, fees and earned income. Those who are more pessimistic relied more on government and foundations."

The report says that optimism about an organisation’s ability to find donors increases in relation to the number of fundraising strategies they use.

In the UK, 38 per cent of organisations using fewer than three strategies feel optimistic about finding new donors. This increases to 59 per cent for those using more than three.

Special events are the most widely used method to fundraise and recruit donors in the UK, the report says. Eighty-four per cent of respondents are either using social media for fundraising already, or planning to do so in the next 12 months.

The report says that charities are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of optimising their websites and emails for viewing on mobile devices. A third of charities in the UK are enabling SMS giving, compared with an overall average of 15 per cent.

Charities are also either already using or planning to use QR codes, including 46 per cent of those in the UK.

In a statement, Marc Chardon, chief executive of Blackbaud, said: "Optimism in the not-for-profit sector varies depending largely on how an organisation communicates with its constituents and the technologies it employs.

"Generally, charities that adopt multiple engagement channels have a more optimistic outlook on their ability to recruit new donors, retain existing donors and grow individual contributions in the coming year."

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