Charities

Charities face the double challenge of stemming the declining number of people donating, while overhauling their approach to customers in the light of the public’s growing preference for indirect fundraising methods. Meanwhile, charity members

<b>ATTITUDES TO WAYS THAT CHARITIES RAISE MONEY – % involved</b> <b>Method very attractive quite attractive not very attractive</b> Special event or sponsorship 36 51 13 TV programme or appeal 28 50 22 Collector in the street 14 55 32 Press ad with coupon 12 43 45 Collector calling at home 2 27 71 Direct mail not asked for 3 9 88 Telephone call from a fundraiser 1 10 89

ATTITUDES TO WAYS THAT CHARITIES RAISE MONEY – % involved

<b>ARRANGEMENTS WITH A CHARITY – % involved</b> Affinity credit or payment card 5 Covenant 11 Direct debit or standing order for regular contribution 23 Legacy in your will 6

ARRANGEMENTS WITH A CHARITY – % involved

<b>ATTITUDES TO CHARITIES – % of all involved agreeing</b> Method Strongly A little Not at all I like to buy products when the manufacturer makes a contribution to charity 45 39 16 There are too many charities asking for money these days 43 30 27 I like to support charities by buying products and services from them 39 44 17 Charities spend too much money on advertising and marketing 35 32 33 I prefer to support the needy by paying taxes than by giving directly 24 28 49

ATTITUDES TO CHARITIES – % of all involved agreeing

In the 18 months since Spotlight first examined participation in charitable donations and activities, there has been a marked decline in all forms of involvement. Seventy-six per cent of the UK population aged 15 or over claim to have “given any money in the past 12 months”, six per cent less than in September 1998. Active participation – “helping to raise money by taking part in a special activity or event” – during the same period also fell, from a third of the adult population in 1998 to a quarter this year. Although starting from a smaller base, the number of people “organising or working for a charity” held up better, recording only a two per cent slide to 14 per cent of the adult population.

In contrast, membership of charities or organisations with a charitable status (such as the National Trust or the RSPB) has risen slightly, from 19 per cent to 21 per cent. Overall, 84 per cent of adults have some charitable involvement, as a member, donor or active worker, an overall fall of three per cent.

Although the total number of donors has decreased, giving through formal arrangements is more popular. Of all those involved with charities (as members, donors or workers) 33 per cent have one or more contractual relationships with a charity. Regular contributions through direct debit or standing order is the most popular form of arrangement: 23 per cent of participants now give in this way, an increase of 7 per cent since 1998. Eleven per cent of participants have a covenant, two per cent more than in 1998; the number who leave money to a charity in their will has doubled, reaching 6 per cent. Only affinity cards remained static, used by 6 per cent of participants.

Although the number of donors has declined, those still giving seem to be trying to make up the shortfall. Only 7 per cent of participants thought that they gave less than they did two years ago; six out of ten gave about the same amount, and a third thought they had increased their donations.

Active involvement with charities and giving, whether formal or informal, show a marked demographic pattern. The youngest age group in NOP’s survey – the 15-24 year olds – have the lowest overall rate of involvement. They are considerably less likely to give money or to belong to a charity – although they are more inclined to take part in “special activities or events”.

Far from being the recipients of benevolence, those who qualify for the state pension seem to form the backbone of charitable activities. Four out of five people aged over 65 made a donation in the past 12 months, a proportion matched only by the 45-64 year old group. Older people are also the most inclined to have a formal arrangement with a charity: they have the highest involvement in all the categories shown by NOP, and are at least twice as likely as younger people to have made a covenant or a legacy.

But it is as workers and organisers that the over-65s are particularly important. Twenty-three per cent of older people have worked for a charity in the past 12 months, nearly twice as many as any other age group – and they make up nearly a third of all volunteer workers.

A total of 85 per cent of ABs – the most prosperous economic group – have made a donation in the past 12 months, ten per cent more than any other class. Half of these people in professional and managerial jobs have at least one formal arrangement with a charity, compared with a third of white-collar workers, and a quarter of the rest of the adult population. But ABs are also active in other ways: a fifth of them contribute labour or organisation for a charity, compared with 13 per cent of all other adults, and they have the highest level of charity membership.

Attitudes towards fundraising

Professional fundraising seems in need of new ideas. Only four methods – “special events or sponsorship” “TV programme or appeal”, “street collectors” and “couponed press advertisement” – appeal to more than half of the charitable public, and of those only the first two were rated very attractive by more than a quarter. Special events or sponsorship has replaced TV appeals as the public’s favourite fundraising method with 36 per cent of the target audience finding them “very attractive” compared with 28 per cent for TV appeals.

Direct contact methods seem unpopular in the main – although that is not to say that they did not succeed in extracting money from their targets, at least in the short-term. Just over a tenth of donors acknowledge the attraction of direct mail or of telephone canvassing for charities.

Charity managers should be particularly concerned about public attitudes to face-to-face collections. Street collectors appeal to seven out ten donors compared with nearly four-fifths in 1998; and positive reactions to a “collector calling at the house” halved, falling to three out of ten donors.

Attitudes to charities have changed much less than attitudes to methods of fundraising. Although nearly three-quarters of donors felt that “there are too many charities asking for money these days”, and two-thirds that “charities spend too much money on advertising and marketing”, these adverse opinions are no stronger than in 1998.

Indirect contributions may point the way out of the fundraising dilemma as 84 per cent of donors “like to buy products when the manufacturer makes a contribution to charity”. “Supporting charities by buying products and services from them” was equally popular. Half of all donors “prefer to support the needy by paying taxes instead of giving directly” – although this feeling was noticeably weaker among the managerial and professional households, who are already contributing through higher rate taxation.

Main Findings

Integration into commercial activity and more planned and structured giving may be the way forward for charities, as direct approaches become increasingly unpopular with givers

The proportion of people donating has declined from 84 per cent to 76 per cent of all adults since 199m Membership and formalised giving has increased

Home-based approaches are unpopular with most donors

ANALYSIS: The Human Factor

Contact: Elaine Hunt

Telephone: 01993 83120NOP Research Group interviewed a sample of 998 adults over 15 years old using its Weekend Telephone Omnibus

CONTACT: Carol Bernasconi on 020 7890 9565

Vital Statistics

<b>ATTITUDES TO WAYS THAT CHARITIES RAISE MONEY – % involved </b> <b>Method very attractive quite attractive not very attractive</b> Special event or sponsorship 36 51 13 TV programme or appeal 28 50 22 Collector in the street 14 55 32 Press ad with coupon 12 43 45 Collector calling at home 2 27 71 Direct mail not asked for 3 9 88 Telephone call from a fundraiser 1 10 89

ATTITUDES TO WAYS THAT CHARITIES RAISE MONEY – % involved

<b>ARRANGEMENTS WITH A CHARITY – % involved </b> Affinity credit or payment card 5 Covenant 11 Direct debit or standing order for regular contribution 23 Legacy in your will 6

ARRANGEMENTS WITH A CHARITY – % involved

<b>ATTITUDES TO CHARITIES – % of all involved agreeing </b> Method Strongly A little Not at all I like to buy products when the manufacturer makes a contribution to charity 45 39 16 There are too many charities asking for money these days 43 30 27 I like to support charities by buying products and services from them 39 44 17 Charities spend too much money on advertising and marketing 35 32 33 I prefer to support the needy by paying taxes than by giving directly 24 28 49

ATTITUDES TO CHARITIES – % of all involved agreeing

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