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Charity income rises but cost of living crisis begins to take toll, research suggests

Wood for Trees State of the Sector report cover detail

While overall, charity income was up 6% in January-June 2022 compared to the same period last year, income growth has mostly come from increased community fundraising, and high-value giving associated with Ukraine emergency appeals, according to data from Wood for Trees.

Outside of this, its research suggests that donation value has fallen, particularly with one-off donations, although these are still above 2019 levels.

Wood for Trees’ figures, from its State of the Sector Report January-June 2022, also show donor recruitment for the first six months of the year to be up on 2021 although it has fallen in recent months, with attrition increasing and file sizes decreasing. And, while regular giving had begun to rise with the return of direct dialogue, the data shows this has also fallen with a drop in monthly income. In addition, the report shows indications of lower levels of initial lifetime value and cross-sell activity.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

However, Wood for Trees’ data also shows rising contactability rates with the percentage of supporters giving consent for email, phone and text communications all up on last year, and mail contactability remaining steady, and shifting donor demographics, pointing towards younger audiences choosing to give to charity.

Commenting, Jon Kelly, Managing Director at Wood for Trees said:

“Despite a good start to the year and some positive signs, there are indications of recruitment and retention falling back and becoming increasingly difficult to maintain with current economic challenges. But, to put things in perspective, income is holding up and levels of giving are higher than pre-pandemic. People are still donating where they can and if charities continue to engage with their supporters in meaningful ways, keep appropriate communications open and offer chances to give in other ways the support will likely continue and pick up again.”

The report follows Wood for Trees’ annual state of the sector report, which it released at the start of the year. This six-month update reports on statistics and trends from the charity sector during January-June 2022, taken from the data agency’s InsightHub charity benchmarking tool.