Wavering consumer confidence is behind a fall in income from non-legacy donations to the British Heart Foundation over the past three years, the charity’s fundraising director, Amanda Bringans, has said.
Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, the BHF’s fundraised income grew by 12.4 per cent, from £121.3m to £136.4m, but this growth was mostly fuelled by a 24.5 per cent growth in income from legacies, while income from other forms of donation fell by 2.4 per cent.
This mirrors a trend identified by Third Sector analysis of the top-10 fundraising charities, including the BHF, which found that although overall donations had grown in the past three years legacy growth had masked the fact that other forms of donations were stalling.
Bringans, who is also chair of the Institute of Fundraising, told Third Sector: "Legacy giving is a priority for us at the BHF and we’re extremely grateful to the generosity of the people who have remembered us in their wills."
She acknowledged that income from other areas of fundraising was not growing at the same pace as legacy giving, but said: "These figures are reflective of the trends seen in the sector and we believe are partly influenced by consumer confidence, which is at its lowest point in many years."
She said it was vital that charities continued to innovate in their fundraising and focused on the propositions that fitted with the changing ways the public wanted to support charities.
"In recent years we’ve established an innovation team that is continually developing and testing new ideas for fundraising," Bringans said.
For example, she added, the charity had recently launched a new function that allowed people to donate through commands to voice-activated technology such as Amazon Alexa.
"We’re also seeing strong and promising growth in community fundraising, which shows the role of passionate local fundraisers is as important as ever," she said.
"In particular, our Heart of Steel – a sculpture in Sheffield on which supporters have their names inscribed in return for donations – has been a great tool for these fundraisers to engage new supporters, and local corporate partnerships are performing very well."
Full analysis of trends in legacy and non-legacy giving can be found in the latest edition of Third Sector magazine, out now.