Public thinks charities spend 40% on admin, says survey

Research by nonprofit sector think-tank and research consultancy nfpSynergy has found that the British public believes that charities typically spend 35% on fundraising and 40% on administration.
The figures emerged from nfpSynergy’s Charity
Awareness Monitor which has tracked a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain for the past decade, uncovering donors’ attitudes and habits as well as what they think of charities’ fundraising strategies and tactics.
The survey suggests that the public recognises the need for charities to invest in fundraising. The average ‘acceptable’ sum respondents felt charities should spend on fundraising was 23% of income, while just 11% should be spent on administration.
Indeed, this public acceptance for expenditure on fundraising has grown over the last year. In July 2007 34% agreed that “it makes sense for charities to spend more of my donations on fundraising this year, if it will increase their income for future years”, but in July 2008 this had risen to 41%.
Joe Saxton, nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, said: “The public appear to significantly overestimate what charities spend on their fundraising and their admin costs, and show especially low tolerance towards the latter. This should prompt charities to better explain the true level of, and the rationale for, all of their costs”.
He encouraged charities to refer to ‘admin’ as ‘necessary management’, indicating that this was no wasteful burden, but rather an essential lubricant without which the very wheels of charity would not turn.”