Almost a third of charities report decline in voluntary income

Melanie May | 22 July 2020 | News

Almost a third – 27% – of charities surveyed for Blackbaud’s 2020 Status of UK Fundraising report say their voluntary income has declined this year, with around the same proportion unsure whether their organisation will survive the impact of the pandemic.
Blackbaud Europe and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising worked together to produce the Status of UK Fundraising 2020 Benchmark Report, surveying 1,990 fundraising professionals across charities of all sizes.
They found that 66% of respondents were either fairly confident or very confident that their organisation will financially recover from Covid-19, with 24% very confident that their organisation would be able to adapt and use new ways of fundraising to combat the challenges of the pandemic. However this still leaves almost a third (29%) fearing for their organisation’s future.

Voluntary income growth has slowed down across all types and sizes of non-profit organisations this year, with 27% saying their income had declined, up from 21% last year. 24% said it remained the same, up from 16% last year, while 40% said their income had increased, although this is down from 49% in 2019.
The two most common answers given for income growth remain the same as in 2019: undertaking planned new or different activity and hiring people with the right skills.
The pandemic is the biggest challenge organisations believe they will need to overcome this year, and over half (57%) of respondents believe the impact caused by the pandemic will last at least a year. Around a third believe they will have to cut service delivery and/or make redundancies to survive.

In the report, Daniel Fluskey, Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Head of Policy & External Affairs commented:

“Given that vast swathes of fundraising activity has not been able to take place since March, it is not surprising that fewer organisations would report income growth this year. However, the extensive effect of Covid-19 on financials will only be fully reflected in future research where we can take a longer view. Unsurprisingly the challenge that Covid-19 presents for charities and the associated economic cost are front-and-centre of people’s minds when thinking about the years to come.”


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Regardless of their organisation’s size, 70% of respondents said they believed that recovering from the impact of Covid-19 will be their biggest challenge over the next three years. This was closely followed by 69% having concerns that the economic situation will result in fewer donations. 55% also said that one of the main challenges in the year ahead will be adapting to new ways of fundraising.
During the pandemic, 76% of organisations used at least one virtual fundraising initiative for the first-time during lockdown, with the majority planning to do more.
Top 5:

  1. 66% have used online giving directly through social media
  2. 45% have used give as you shop
  3. 35% – online streaming of events such as quizzes and performances
  4. 34% – virtual physical challenges
  5. 31% – team virtual events
44% of respondents also anticipate that they will experience a positive increase in online donations this year.
The full report can be downloaded from the Blackbaud site.