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Charities ‘cautiously optimistic’ about year ahead, report suggests

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Almost a third of charities saw income drop in 2022 – but two thirds maintained or increased it, with the same proportion very or fairly optimistic about the year ahead, according to Enthuse’s latest Charity Pulse report.

Small charities fared best with 70% saying their income stayed the same or rose. This was followed by larger charities at 64%. Among medium sized charities nearly two in five (38%) surveyed for the report saw either volatile or lower fundraising. However, this is an improvement on 2021 when this figure was 45% for medium sized charities.

Looking at the year ahead, 53% expect to see growth in fundraising events and activities of all sizes, and just 12% forecasting a drop in income. 55% of charities plan to get involved in mass physical events like the TCS London Marathon or Great North Run and 47% stating they are organising their own mass events. Across these two categories, a total of 81% of the charities surveyed said they were planning to be involved in mass physical events. This figure stood at 33% this time last year.

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Additionally, 39% think that corporate fundraising will increase, while 18% predict a drop. With legacy giving, 25% predict growth in this area while 19% expect a dip.

Cautious optimism over year ahead

Charities of all sizes are cautiously optimistic about 2023, the report suggests, with 72% stating they are either very or fairly optimistic about the year ahead. 59% said that supporters seem keen to take part in events post Covid. 55% believe there will be more opportunities to make use of digital channels in 2023, and a similar proportion (51%) that younger generations are feeling more positive towards charities.

The cost of living is seen as the biggest obstacle to success, with concerns that supporters have less to donate. Nearly half (47%) said this was a significant challenge for charities this year. This was followed by fundraisers being reluctant to ask for donations in the current financial climate (37%) and persuading volunteers to help with fundraising and events (33%).

The Charity Pulse report also looks at the methods charities can utilise to help event participants raise money. Coming out on top was providing information on how the donations will be used, with half (49%) of respondents saying this was very important. Other helpful tools to help maximise fundraising included: providing ideas for fundraising (48%), taking part in a big name event, such as The TCS London Marathon or Great North Run (39%) and using the official event apps to secure more donations on the day (39%).

Commenting on the research, Chester Mojay-Sinclare, Enthuse Founder and CEO, said:

“Despite the challenging backdrop, it’s encouraging to see that the sector is cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. Participation in mass events seems to be key to this. Charities are recognising the appetite for great experiences post Covid and are looking to make the most of it.”

 

“It’s clear from the research that the clever use of technology will be vital at a time where resources are stretched and engaging supporters is paramount. It’s important that the third sector embraces innovation by tapping into the potential of tech like AI and improving user journeys with the use of end-to-end integrated solutions.”

Donation & fundraising sites

Enthuse also looked at charities’ use of donation and fundraising sites. It found that two in five (39%) using charity branded third party platforms – an increase of six percentage points from this time last year. 29% said they prefer in-house solutions, down from 33% last year, while 24% prefer third party platforms, down from 26% in 2021. 

Nearly two thirds of charities say they are concerned about how third parties collect and use supporter data. This scored higher than data privacy and data compliance at 59%, and concerns about data breaches (47%).

Tech use

While VR, augmented reality and the metaverse claim a lot of headlines, there is still only tentative interest from the sector at this stage. Currently 6% say they are using VR, augmented reality and the metaverse with a further 5% are trialling it. 69% however are looking at the use of AI to help personalise donor journeys.

The use of TikTok is on the rise with 34% of charities saying they are already using it and a further 22% trialling it. Just under a third (30%) are using podcasts for digital fundraising, with a further 26% trialling them. 

Enthuse surveyed decision makers from 218 charities in November and December 2022 about the impact of the cost of living on their organisation and how they feel about future opportunities.

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