Research on Post-Tsunami Fundraising
21 February 2005 at 12:02 pm
The impact of the Tsunami aftermath on Australian fundraising will be added to the Australian Government funded Giving Australia research project.
News that the year long research project is to incorporate the effect of the Tsunami disaster on local fundraising was announced by the new CEO of the Fundraising Institute – Australia, Sue-Anne Wallace at the February Chapter One professional development lunch in Melbourne.
Wallace told Victorian fundraisers that while their profession is well established in Australia it does not have a lot of data to back up its goals.
While fundraising in many ways relies on a ‘gut feeling’, she said the sheer magnitude of the Tsunami disaster means that there is a need for more solid data.
The FI-A had approached Prof. Myles McGregor Lowndes from the Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology to carry out urgent research on the possible impact of the Tsunami on future fundraising. However it was agreed that it was a timely opportunity to include the Tsunami research in the Giving Australia research.
The Giving Australia: Research on Philanthropy in Australia project will make available the most consolidated qualitative and quantitative data collected in recent years. It was commissioned by the Australian Department of Family and Community Services on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.
It is being conducted by a consortium comprising the Australian Council of Social Service (the lead agency); Queensland University of Technology Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies; University of Technology, Sydney, Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management; Roy Morgan Research; McNair Ingenuity Research Pty Ltd; and the Fundraising Institute of Australia
The Giving Australia final report is now due to be delivered to the Australian Government in November 2005.
Sue Anne Wallace told the Chapter One meeting that there are three major areas of concern for Not for Profits in the aftermath of the Tsunami disaster.
These include the idea that ‘the money is gone ‘” and donors only have so much to give; the new kid on the block – the use and success of Online Fundraising; and surviving the aftermath – what information do fundraisers need to structure donation programs in the future.
Wallace says while the level of giving in Australia to this disaster has been unprecedented, it does not mean that Australians have exhausted their capacity to give.
She says Australians gave $250 million in just six weeks but if you look at the $3-$5 billion dollars donated to Australian charities each year, the Tsunami figure amounts to just 5-8% of annual giving.
She says what the generous outpouring has done is raise the accountability and scrutiny of charities to a heightened level never seen before.
She says the way the aid agencies use that money and deliver their outcomes will reflect on future fundraising opportunities for all Not for Profits.
She warned that if Not for Profits believe the money is gone then it will be gone!
The FI-A CEO says the Tsunami disaster has also brought new prominence to online giving and an influx of new donors via the Internet.
Oxfam raised 80% of their funds via online donations. Up to 45% of donations were achieved online by the other aid agencies.
Wallace says local fundraisers need to look at how to bring those donors in and sell them a message to attract their interest again.
She says the FI-A is looking at professional development courses directed at online learning and donor management.
As for what to expect in the aftermath, Wallace says looking to the US experience after 9/11, the year after that event saw donations grow at a greater rates generally that in the previous two years!
She says research by Indiana University found that the capacity for people to give still existed despite the 9/11 events.
The future of corporate giving
Wallace believes that via anecdotal evidence that corporate giving would remain resilient despite what appeared to be ugly competition to see who gave the most to the Tsunami appeal.
She says CEO’s of large corporations now face the impossible task of trying to please everyone with a public perception that corporates are not generous and with shareholders complaining that they have no right to spend their money.
Whatever the aftermath Wallace says issues surrounding the rights of donors, accountability over the use of the funds and the cost of fundraising would have all Not for Profits on high alert!