- Nearly half of UK voluntary organisations receive the majority of their funding from individuals; last year donors gave £9.3bn. Thinking about who is donating, why, and what would make them donate more, is important for the future of the charity sector, and those it helps. Money for Good UK offers insights into how satisfied donors are with charities, the potential for donors to change how much they give and what they give to, and the characteristics of high-income and mainstream donors. Some of the key findings include:Less than half of UK donors (47%) think people should donate to charity if they have the means, which suggests we still have some way to go in building a culture of giving in this country;
Donors care about impact: three in five pay close or extremely close attention to how their donation will be used and to evidence that an organisation is having an impact;
UK donors would give £665m more if charities provided more information about the things donors care about, specifically how donations will be used and evidence of impact.
- To introduce it with a bit more style, here's one of the report authors, Sally Bagwell:
- Giving culture in the UK is weak. Less than half of donors think people should donate to charity if they have the means. This figure is based on a sample of those who gave over £50 in the last year, which is only around four in ten people in the total population. The sense of duty to donate may be even lower in those who donate at a lower level or not at all.
- Donors care about impact. Three in five pay close or extremely close attention to how their donation will be used and to evidence that a charity is having an impact. Charities currently underperform in these areas. If charities met their needs better, 20% of mainstream donors and 34% of high-income donors would increase their overall giving. Mainstream donors would give an average £155 more, and high-income £603 more per year. This equates to an additional £665m per year—an increase in total giving of about 11%.
- So, what can charities do to access this £665m? First, they must be clearer in explaining what they are trying to do and how their actions help to achieve their aims. Then they need to look at how they can evaluate their success and results – getting to grips with the issue of “impact”. Lastly, though no less importantly, charities need to find ways of communicating all this to donors and funders alike. City A.M., Herald Scotland and Third Sector discuss:
- But it is not only charities that can help steer this change. Our recent research, Making An Impact, showed that three-quarters of charities, to varying extents, already measure their impact. It also revealed that funder requirements are a key driver of this. Funders may also have a role in encouraging their grantees to make this information available. Sally Bagwell explains why:
- In examining regional differences in giving, Money for Good UK found that donors in Scotland give more to charity than any other country in Britain: mainstream donors in Scotland give on average £356 a year, compared with the national average of £303. The Midlands is the region with the highest average annual donation. On the eve of Red Nose Day, the Telegraph muses that hundreds of comedians may be forced to change their repertoire:
- So, what about donor behaviour? Donors most often give in an ad hoc way, but prefer committed giving via direct debit. High-income donors show a greater preference for ad-hoc giving—one-off donations, sponsoring someone or fundraising events. Donors are loyal in their key charity relationships. 70% of mainstream donors have given for the last three years to the organisation where they made their largest donation, and 90% intend to give to the same organisation next year. What kind of donor are you?