Fundraising income holding up for more than half of charities, research finds

Despite this growth, just 44 per cent of charity decision-makers feel optimistic about fundraising this year

Slightly more than half of charities say their fundraising income at least held up over the past year, research has found. 

A survey of decision-makers from 202 charities shows 55 per cent of charities maintained or increased their fundraising income over the past year.

The 2024 Charity Pulse report, published by the fundraising technology provider Enthuse, says that fundraising income has “largely stood firm”, despite the challenges posed by the cost-of-living crisis.

Of those asked, 53 per cent expect to see growth in fundraising events and activities over the next year, 39 per cent believe their corporate fundraising will grow and 34 per cent expect regular giving to grow.

Charities were least optimistic about growth in legacy donations, with just 25 per cent saying they believe this will increase.

When asked about their attitudes to fundraising, just 44 per cent of respondents said they felt very or fairly optimistic about fundraising, with 17 per cent feeling uncertain about the year ahead.

Smaller charities were less uncertain about the future of their fundraising income for the year, the research found.

While nearly half of large charities felt optimistic about this income source, this fell to 44 per cent for medium-sized charities and 38 per cent for small charities.

When asked about their reasons for caution about fundraising, 89 per cent of charities said that supporters’ lack of disposable income posed either a slight or significant challenge for the coming year.

Fundraisers’ reluctance to ask for support from family, friends and colleagues due to the cost-of-living crisis was another perceived difficulty, with 76 per cent of respondents saying this was either a slight or significant challenge.

Being able to persuade volunteers to give up their time to help with fundraising and events was also described as a slight or significant challenge by 67 per cent of respondents.

Chester Mojay-Sinclare, founder and chief executive of Enthuse, said it was “encouraging” to see more than half of charities maintain or increase their income, adding: “It’s testament to the resourceful nature of the sector that charities find a way to continue to deliver results, even against a difficult financial backdrop.

“Society has moved from the uncertainty of the pandemic straight into a cost-of-living crisis. This has seen the demand for charitable services rise. The sector has handled this admirably and that hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed by the public.” 

The report also showed that the perceived levels of trust in charities were high, with 63 per cent of respondents believing that the public has a high level of trust in their charity. Of this figure, 40 per cent believed there was complete trust in their work.

But the report warns that charities’ involvement in politics may pose a challenge to maintaining trust.

Two-thirds of charities said that supporters expect them to steer clear of politics and one in six said they have had to defend their actions at some point in 2023.

But of those that had to justify some of their actions, just 6 per cent reported a loss of income as a result. 

The report says this suggests that if charities choose to campaign about contentious issues related to their cause, they are unlikely to see donations drop as a result.


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