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The mixed effect of donor behaviour on charities

Gateley Legal

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The pandemic has had a mixed effect on charities. There have been the obvious winners – Captain Tom being the most memorable perhaps. But likewise, there have been losers.

The workplace ‘cake bakes’ or ‘wear red to work’ days came to a standstill whilst lockdown was imposed and has not regained its frequency or effectiveness due to hybrid or flexible working routines that are now in place.

The 2021 Status of UK Fundraising Benchmark Report (Blackbaud) says that 21% of charities report hitting fundraising targets. 

Smaller charities have had to and continue to gear up to accept digital donations. 44% of the public say that they donated online (up 7% since June 2020) (Enthuse Donor Pulse report).

At the start of the pandemic 59% of the pubic said that they had recently donated. 3 months later this had risen to 70% and had flattened to 69% by October 2020.

Does this mean that smaller charities will have to change the way in which they appeal to donors. Should they be looking to create partnerships with corporate entities? If so, how can they make themselves attractive to the corporate world and enhance the CSR offering of that organisation?

Current world events have led to an upsurge of support for charities offering aid. Undoubtedly there will be those who will seek to profit from the generosity of the public and people should take care to make sure that their donation, be it cash or items, is going to get to where they think it is going to.

The Charity Commission and the Fundraising Authority have both said that charities need to consider the source of donations currently and it has been widely reported that the Trustees of the charity connected to Chelsea Football Club sought the advice and assistance of the Charity Commission regarding the plan for them to take custodianship of the same.

The Charity Commission has long advised charities on a ‘know your’ basis i.e. know your donor, know your beneficiary. However, they have advised that more care needs to be taken following the invasion in the Ukraine and the possible source of funds in the context of existing sanctions.

Finally, does age make a difference to donation? As at October 2020 81% of under 40’s reported having made donations. This fell to 62% of over 40’s.

81% of Gen Z (18–24-year-olds) planned to donate and 78% of millennials (aged 25-39).

It would appear that the appetite for the public to donate to good causes has not diminished, although the methods by which they donate my give charities food for thought when thinking about any appeal campaign.

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