Charities are responding to financial challenges by increasing their fundraising and marketing activity, and using more technology to reach people and encourage donations, a new report shows.
Endsleigh Insurance’s Rewarding Industries 2023 report explores how the cost-of-living crisis has impacted fundraising and the ability to recruit and retain staff. The report also sheds light on the technology charities are using to help combat these challenges, looking at what charities are doing to bring in more income, meet increasing service demand, boost recruitment, and more.
Endsleigh commissioned Censuswide to survey over 300 financial decision makers across charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations in May.
45% of those surveyed said finances were worse than during the pandemic, and 43% believe their organisation is at risk of closing because of the financial challenges. 26% said they were cutting down on physical events to save costs.
Responding to challenges
To try and improve their finances, 47% say they are increasing fundraising activity, 40% are using technology to increase fundraising digitally, and 44% are using marketing activity to attract more fundraising. Increasing fundraising activity was the biggest priority for charities in the Greater London area (60%), followed by those in the South (51%). Charities in the North are the least likely to be increasing their fundraising activity at 35%.
94% of charities in the North say they’re increasing marketing activity to attract more fundraising, followed by 76% in the Midlands. Charities in London and Scotland are the least likely to be doing so at 49% and 36%.
Larger charities are more likely to be increasing marketing activity – with (at the top) 55% of those in the £1mn-£10mn income bracket doing so.
Overall, 31% of charities have increased their social media use to augment their marketing activities in the last 12 months, 26% are partnering with influencers, and over 37% are forming more partnerships with commercial businesses.
Use of tech
In terms of the technology charities are using to increase their fundraising, at just under 40%, smaller charities (under £100,000 turnover) were the most likely to have used social media to support their fundraising activities in the past 12 months.
Overall, 58% of charities surveyed said they had used the metaverse, Augmented Reality or VR, online games or partnered with gamification providers to encourage donations in the past year. Online fundraising (35%), online payment systems (34%) and facial recognition or fingerprint scanning technology (24%) was largely used amongst the charities surveyed, with 63% adopting one or more of these technologies over the last 12 months. 25% are also using online games to encourage donations.
AI is helping fundraising in a variety of ways, from improving targeting to engaging donors through voice assistants and chatbots. Chatbots have also been helping charities streamline processes and engage donors and service users giving them the space to scale their employees’ expertise in more beneficial areas.
The report also looks at the sector’s recruitment and staffing issues. Of those surveyed, 45% reporting increased staff turnover and 55% said employees had been forced out of the sector in search of better paid employment in different industries. To try and fill the gaps, 29% say they are also increasing their use of automation and AI.
In her foreword to the report, Endsleigh Insurance CEO Alison Meckiffe said:
“This sector is facing unprecedented challenges in retaining and attracting the best talent and in fundraising. However this sector is seeing huge advancements in the use of new technologies to create innovative fundraising opportunities, to streamline and improve efficiencies and deliver the outcomes needed to attract new donors.”
The full report can be downloaded from the Endsleigh Insurance site.