Debate: How useful is national giving data to charities and the work they do?

The demise of the annual UK Giving survey raises the question of what charities get out of projects on this scale. Here, three experts discuss their views

The UK Giving survey ran from 2004 until 2012
The UK Giving survey ran from 2004 until 2012

Amie Ibrahimi-Brown

National giving data helps us to understand the size of the market and giving behaviour as we build our corporate and marketing strategies. We don't look at the data in isolation, but it helps us to understand changes in the market and how we're performing.

It is useful because it helps us to understand which areas are growing so we can focus our marketing; and demographic data is important in helping us understand how behavioural trends vary. We need to interpret it correctly so that we make the best decisions for our supporters.

Amie Ibrahimi-Brown is head of supporter experience at the NSPCC

Bernie Nolan

We are a membership organisation, and our fundraising is concentrated on events, partnerships and work with trusts and foundations, rather than individual giving; so we have limited use for national giving data. Such data would be more useful if it focused on specific sectors, such as health or social care. For us, the most useful national data relates directly to specific areas, such as corporate partnerships, where we track sector trends and how much firms give. Local data is also important, because we share best practice with member hospices.

Bernie Nolan is head of corporate partnerships at Help the Hospices

Neil Kerfoot

Like most small charities, we are insecure and we do not have much in the way of resources, so any form of benchmarking will help us navigate our pathway through the thick misty forest of income generation and best practice.

Organisations such as the Small Charities Coalition and the Foundation for Social Improvement provide us with some validation. Most people understand that data collection and report-writing is, at worst, a best guess of the current situation - but these reports do indicate areas of growth and change.

Neil Kerfoot is chief executive of Village by Village

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