British Red Cross bucks trend with rising fundraised income

Fundraised income at the charity has increased in the past three years, but unlike other large sector bodies it has seen its legacy income decline

Fundraised income for the British Red Cross has risen over the past three years, despite a fall in its legacy income, the reverse of a wider trend among top fundraising charities.

Among the top-10 fundraising charities, which includes the BRC, Third Sector analysis found that, although overall donations had grown in the last three years for which accounts are available, legacy growth masked the fact that other forms of donations were stalling.

But BRC’s accounts for recent years do not reflect the average trend. Instead, legacy incomes have fallen by 4 per cent, from £32.6m in 2015 to £31.3m in 2017.

Meanwhile, other forms of donation have increased from £120.2m to £128.4m over the same period.

The charity had a rockier year in 2016, when legacy income dropped to £30.9m and other donations fell to £104.5m, leaving the total at £135.4m, down 11.4 per cent on the year before.

The accounts for 2016 said this was "due to changes in regulation, as well as our own quality assurance framework".

Although the BRC is not among the charities whose legacy income has propped up and disguised a fall in other forms of income in recent years, its chief supporter officer, Paul Amadi, has been among those in the sector warning that traditional fundraising methods are becoming less effective and need to change.

In January, he wrote in a blog for Third Sector that fundraising "is at a point of peak uncertainty".

He wrote: "The warning signs are there for all to see – in the declining response rates to our cold appeals, reduced volumes of sign-ups by direct dialogue and increasingly hard feedback about fundraising approaches.

"That’s not at all to say that there aren’t organisations really maximising the existing ways of fundraising and getting great value out of that, but in terms of longevity and in terms of where the sector will be in 10 or 12 years' time, it is necessary for us to evolve."

A spokeswoman said no one from BRC was available to comment on the trend over the past three years or Third Sector’s analysis because of work on the appeal for those affected by Cyclone Idai.

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