Fundraising: Major donors set to become a lifeline for charities

Helen Barrett

Charities have seen donations from major donors rise by more than 185 per cent over the past year, according to new figures from the Institute of Fundraising.

The latest Fundratios report, an annual benchmarking project co-ordinated by the Centre for InterFirm Comparison and commissioned by the institute, found that major donors are the fastest growing source of voluntary income, accounting for almost 2 per cent of income across the sector. The rise happened despite the fact that charities invest the least in this source - it accounts for just 1.2 per cent of fundraising costs.

"We know that large charities are looking at developing major donors as regular sources of income, but we don't know why this source has grown so quickly," said Megan Pacey, director of policy and campaigns at the institute. "We aim to tease out the reasons for the increase over time."

Les Hems, director of research at the Institute for Philanthropy, added that the findings supported anecdotal evidence. "High net worth individuals are more likely to make large and well-publicised donations than anonymous gifts," he said. "More effort is devoted to prospecting, recruiting and managing major donors."

The report also found that fundraising from competitions, events and committed giving has grown as well.

Researchers analysed the income and outgoings of 37 charities with a combined voluntary income of £1.27 bn.

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