Total number of active charity supporters has risen over the past year, research shows

The total number of active charity supporters has risen by 2.5 per cent since the start of the pandemic due to growth in recruitment driven by digital and direct mail, according to new research.

A new report by the data agency Wood for Trees indicates there was significant growth in income and recruitment in the charity sector between January and June this year compared with the same period in 2020.

The State of the Sector Report, which is based on data collated from 10.7 million supporters, shows that the recruitment of new supporters has risen by 58 per cent year-on-year and total income is up seven per cent.

Researchers say this is being driven by one-off donations, the average value of which is up almost 50 per cent to £56 since the start of Covid-19.

An increased use of digital methods and a resurgence in direct mail have proven to be the most successful channels to find new supporters, according to the report.

Recruitment by digital means has risen by almost 40 per cent year on year, the report says, while the number of new supporters from direct mail is currently three times higher than in the first half of 2020.

Regular giving by the public has remained a stable source of income that remains at similar levels to the same period last year.

But other forms of giving, such as community fundraising and gaming, have dropped slightly.

The report also highlights a significant shift in supporter profiles.

New recruits tend to be younger and less affluent, particularly for community fundraising and gaming, although overall typical supporters are still older and more affluent.

Community fundraisers mostly opt for email whereas gamers tend to prefer SMS, which researchers suggest shows that the ways in which these new supporters choose to be contacted seems to be changing.

Increasing recruitment levels has meant the total number of active supporters has risen 2.5 per cent higher than the level at the start of the pandemic, the report says.

It says these new supporters will need further nurturing and engagement.

Jon Kelly, managing director of Wood for Trees, said: “A six-month review of charity data, taken from our InsightHub benchmarking suite, shows promising results for the sector as overall income and supporter volumes continue to rise.

“However, we are yet to see the full impact of the changes seen in the ways of giving and types of supporters.

“This will require continuous monitoring to ensure charities can build from the positives and make the most of the opportunities presented to them.”


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