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Cost of fundraising replaces public trust as biggest concern for European fundraisers

Cost of fundraising replaces public trust as biggest concern for European fundraisers

The cost of fundraising has overtaken public trust as the biggest concern for charities across Europe, according to Fundraising in Europe 2017, a new report published this week by the (EFA).

Previously the lead concern in EFA’s 2015 report, public trust was cited as the second most highly ranked concern in Fundraising in Europe 2017, followed by adapting to forthcoming EU data protection rules with most national fundraising associations believing that charities in their nation are under-prepared for GDPR requirements.

The report, which represents the views of fifteen national fundraising associations including the UK also shows that voluntary income is growing across Europe. The large majority of associations questioned for the report have recorded a rise over the last five years, identifying increasing use of social media, technological developments, growing national economies and innovation as having a positive impact on fundraising and charitable giving, together with growing professionalism across the sector.

While voluntary income is rising however, less than half of the associations surveyed (six) reported a rise in donor numbers, with the majority reporting numbers in their country as either static (five) or declining (three). However, associations also referenced new groups of donors and younger supporters who have become more accessible to the sector with the development of online donation platforms, growth of peer-to-peer giving and with new entrants to the fundraising marketplace attracting a different supporter base.

Top fundraising methods and causes

Direct mail is still the top fundraising method followed by public collections by direct debit, and corporate fundraising. However, direct mail was selected by less than half of associations surveyed for this year’s report, compared to 62% in 2015.

The report also shows that while children’s charities remain the top cause across Europe, followed by healthcare / medical research and international charities, arts, education, sports and environment charities are also becoming more prominent.

Gosse Bosma, EFA President and Director of Goede Doelen Nederland, said:

“The sector rarely shies away from innovation and, having embraced new payment channels, peer-to-peer giving platforms and social media, this report shows that fundraising continues to be a dynamic and exciting industry.

“A big challenge however is strengthening relationships with supporters, particularly younger generations, and making the most of the new opportunities that technological developments and digital fundraising bring.

“At the same time, charities have to be careful not to ask too much. The number of fundraising organisations is rising, which can compound the effect and deter the public from giving. We need to do all we can to ensure that every contact with a current or potential donor is a positive experience.”

Countries covered by the Fundraising in Europe 2017 report are: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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