Most fundraisers want money spent on donor research, says report

Academic Adrian Sargeant to lobby Economic and Social Research Council to change spending priorities

Most fundraisers think research to identify new donors should be funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, according to a new report by think tank nfpSynergy and US-based British academic Adrian Sargeant.

The report, based on a survey of 221 fundraisers carried out in September this year, shows that 51 per cent think funding should be ploughed into this area.

Forty-seven per cent of those polled would like more funding for research on donor motivation and 44 per cent would like to know more about patterns of internet giving.

Sargeant, who is Robert F Hartsook professor of fundraising at Indiana University, has been lobbying the ESRC to allocate funding to research that would be useful to fundraisers.

He will take the report to the ESRC, which will announce in January where it has allocated the remaining £600,000 of central government money for research conducted through the Centre for Philanthropy and Charitable Giving.

Sargeant said the centre, based at the Cass Business School in London, had so far funded research into whether charitable activity might mitigate or reinforce social and economic inequalities and on the social returns from charitable investment.

"Projects designed to increase individual giving in the UK and to assist fundraisers in raising funds have so far been notable by their absence," he said.

"We urge the ESRC to take account of the views of fundraisers and invest in research that would make a genuine difference to the sector."

A spokeswoman for the ESRC said it was unable to comment before Third Sector went to press.

The wish list (Percentage of respondents who answered 'very useful')\

51% Identification of new sectors of society likely to give to charity
47% Donor motivations and psychology
44% Patterns of internet giving and online donor behaviour
40% Major donors' motives and barriers to giving
37% Donor retention and strategies for developing donor loyalty
32% Overall trends in giving
32% Research among younger people about their giving
32% Research about corporate attitudes to giving
30% Legacies: donor motivation and effective solicitation
29% Research to develop new fundraising 'products'

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