Charities are facing tough times with recent research showing that donations are down, however, Mintel has found that, in general, the consumer is committed to donating and plans to do so at similar levels in the future. Conversely, there is evidence that some consumers are cutting back and donating goods rather than cash. Furthermore, the government’s imminent Autumn Spending Review is set to bring in a number of cutbacks which will impact the public’s ability to donate.
- In 2009, there were just under 180,000 charities in England and Wales with a total income of £51.7 billion, with the number of operating charities falling from a high of 190,541 in 2007 to an estimated 172,194 in 2010.
- Over two thirds of adults have donated to charity in the last year with nearly half of those adults donating throughout the year, with collection boxes in shops, sponsoring an event or challenge and giving to street collections are the most popular ways for people to give to charity.
- The majority of large charities have a number of awareness and fundraising campaigns, and reaching their audiences via new media is commonplace; email shots, viral video campaigns, SMS texting, blogs and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are all utilised.
- Trust and transparency are a key concern for consumers; 43% of adults question how much money donated is received by the actual recipient, while the majority dislike being phoned by charity canvassers (86%) and being stopped in the street (71%).
- There is an increasing trend for giving goods rather than cash. Out of those that have not donated (cash) to charity in the last 12 months two thirds have given unwanted items to charity shops instead. Concern that not enough money goes directly to the cause was the reason for over half (57%).
- Consumer perceptions of companies as a whole benefit directly from relationships with charities and getting involved with charity is an effective way for brands to boost their reputation, with over two thirds of adults think positively of brands which make charitable donations whilst over half prefer to buy brands that do so.