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Charities will need new fundraising approaches post-Covid

Charities will need new fundraising approaches post-Covid

Charities will need to develop new fundraising approaches as giving falls over the next year, according to research commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

While the report’s authors say the current environment is too uncertain to make accurate predictions on the outcomes for fundraising, based on Treasury forecasts for economic growth, household giving could drop by 25% in 2020-2021 with the economy affecting most fundraising income streams.

Reframing the Ask – trends which will shape giving and fundraising post-Covid19, was authored by Cathy Pharoah, Visiting Professor, Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, and Tom McKenzie, Honorary Research Fellow, at the University of Dundee.

It looks at what could influence the outlook for fundraising post-Covid by exploring key areas of fundraising in relation to potential economic growth over the next few years, including household giving and spending, trends in charities’ total voluntary fundraising income, trends in legacies to charities, corporate giving, and trusts and foundations.

Looking at pre-pandemic trends and data for giving, it says, will enable charities to develop a better understanding of where we are now and what happened in the last recession, which may provide pointers for the future of fundraising.

The findings highlight a need for charities to seek out new opportunities. While household giving, legacy income and corporate giving will be affected by the economic climate, the research points to marked differences in household income and to some households likely to have made significant savings during lockdown, saying some donors may be persuaded to divert savings to charity, while others doing less well may decide to defer rather than cancel their giving.

The report states:

“Capacity to give will become increasingly polarised as COVID 19 has a more negative effect on some sections of the population than others, and those who can afford to give should be encouraged to do so.”

And, while there will be an impact on corporate giving, the report suggests that this may be one area that is less affected, with many companies reducing but not stopping their giving, and many major corporate donors coming from sectors that have continued to do well during the pandemic.

It says:

“Major corporate donors tend to be in industrial sectors performing well in the FTSE, so future fundraising opportunities may lie with sectors which have grown business during COVID19, such as pharmaceuticals, online retail of essential goods, e-commerce, technology and software.”

It also predicts that foundations will be less affected due to growth in their assets pre-pandemic, and their capital reserves.

The report concludes:

“Recession will not have an equal impact on all parts of society, and we will need to look particularly towards those who can afford to give, and supporting those who are less well-off. The course of economic recovery lies outside fundraisers’ control, but re-framing donor relationships lies within it.”


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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