Claritas charity study is stale

Your article “New generation for support” (MW May 4) questions the premise that charities target potential donors who are “over 50 and have a high income”. The article suggests new research from Claritas will encourage us to rethink our approach to donor recruitment.

To say that charities look to primarily target people with high incomes is untrue. There has never been a “traditional premise” that “the more you earn, the more you give”. Fundraisers are aware that the overwhelming factor in donating to a charity is a donor’s propensity, not ability, to give.

The article suggests fundraisers should consider targeting “lower-paid earners”, who give a larger percentage of their income to charity, rather than affluent over-50s. Is Claritas suggesting we should begin targeting students and the unemployed, whose disposable income is as low as their earnings?

Before we begin to “take risks” with our donors’ money and look outside our core market, I suggest we continue to profile our databases to identify common traits among donors.

I suspect that, for most charities, the results will be notably unremarkable, with a trend towards humanitarian over-55 women. Many will indeed be lower-paid earners – housewives and retired empty nesters with solid investments, low salaries, high disposable incomes and a high propensity to give.

Charities are desperate to widen their declining pool of potential donors, but sadly this survey offers nothing new. Rather, the study reiterates the findings of extensive donation research by the Henley Management College in the Nineties.

Nicola Prehn

London EC1

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