Ebbing Tide of Donations – 2003 Givewell Survey
Thursday, 17th July 2003 at 1:07 pm
An analysis of the financial statements of hundreds of Australian charities has shown a rise in fundraising income much less than the rate of inflation as well as a lower rate of return for the fundraising dollars spent.
The results are published in the latest Givewell Survey for 2003.
Givewell’s Executive Director, Michael Walsh says these trends must cause concern for charities that have generally experienced rapid growth in fundraising income in the last five years.
The survey looked at the financial statements of 253 charitable organisations and found:
„X 9% increase in Total Income
„X 74% of organisations reported an increase in Total Income
„X 1% increase in Fundraising Income
„X 7% increase in Net Assets
Another result that Givewell describes as alarming in the survey is that as many as 50% of Australian charities have not disclosed their administration and marketing costs.
Walsh says that this result comes despite legislation in two states, Victoria and NSW, requiring them to do so.
In Victoria alone the survey found that of the 112 Victorian organisations surveyed, 57 per cent did not disclose the costs of fund-raising, including administration and marketing costs.
Walsh says overseas aid organisations subscribe to the Australian Council for Overseas Aid Code of Conduct, which requires them to outline fund-raising expenditure.
He says any donor is interested in fundraising costs and how much goes to administration.
He says some charities just list wages and nothing else.
World Vision increased its costs and income in the survey period, while the Salvation Army is on record as saying that fundraising was not as good.
Walsh says there was a slight fall for other charities although costs were still up.
He says the upshot is that most charities will not raise their anticipated fundraising budget but rather keep it at the same level.
He says while figures show Australia’s economic growth as being healthy, the ‘generous sectors’ are in recession. White-collar areas, such as the financial sector, are facing a downturn with many job losses so these companies are lowering the cap on ‘giving’.
He says big business is stable but because of a squeeze on profit, their significant contribution budgets will not increase.
For more information on Givewell go to www.givewell.com.au.