Charity donations likely to fall, academics warn

UK dip could follow falls in the US

Charities can expect to see a fall in giving in line with the contracting economy, experts have predicted.

The forecast comes after research organisation Giving USA Foundation found donations in the US fell 2 per cent in 2008 on the previous year. Giving fell from $314bn in 2007 to $307.65bn, the first decline in the US year-on-year figures since 1988.

Cathy Pharoah, co-director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy in London, said a similar dip could be expected in the UK. But she said she did not expect any fall to be sharper than the drop in GDP.

"We've found in previous recessions that falls in giving mirrored what happened in the wider economy," Pharoah said.

Beth Breeze, a charitable giving researcher at Kent University, said there was likely to be a small fall in donations and that perceptions of the recession's impact on giving had been "disproportionately negative".

Richard Hughes, head of data planning at marketing agency Bluefrog, said the target audience of charities would be important.

"Charities that look to recruit and retain younger, wealthier individuals are going to be more affected by the recession than those that have built their programmes on high-volume, lower-value supporters," he said.

Sonal Shenai, executive director of The Funding Network, said donations had remained strong, although corporate giving had fallen slightly.

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