TV and newspaper coverage is still the main driver of public donations in response to disaster appeals, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
The research found that 81% of UK adults surveyed said they were prompted to give to the recent Burma Appeal by reports on television (69%), or articles in newspapers (12%). Only 6% said they did so because of online media coverage. The Disasters Emergency Committee’s Burma Cyclone Appeal has so far raised over £14 million.
However, online giving continues to grow in popularity. The survey showed that the proportion of donors who gave online to the Burma Appeal (12%) was more than one and a half times the number that made online donations during the Asian Tsunami Appeal (7%).
The Burma appeal on the other hand has not attracted as many donations. The CAF survey found that one quarter (23%) of respondents said they donated money to charities following the Burma Appeal contrasting with 81% of people who were asked the same question after the Tsunami Appeal.
Cash is still the most popular donation method (35%) with more than a third of donations made in this way. After the Tsunami more than two thirds of donations were in cash (68%).
Liz Goodey is Head of Research at CAF, which monitors donor habits and tracks donations to charities during large-scale international relief efforts, to help charities understand donor reactions to disaster appeals.
She said: “We always knew that television and newspapers were essential to fundraising, but this survey tells us that without them, charities trying to deal with disasters such as the cyclone might never receive the level of support that they need.”
She added: “Donors are showing their preference for online giving as a convenient way to make donations, and so fundraisers need to ensure that their message of how to give online is clear to donors and to potential donors.”
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