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Aussie Giving Trends and Predictions Mixed - Survey

27 August 2014 at 11:53 am
Lina Caneva
New research shows Not for Profit leaders are quite positive about the philanthropic climate but warn that corporate giving is on the decline.

Lina Caneva | 27 August 2014 at 11:53 am


Aussie Giving Trends and Predictions Mixed - Survey
27 August 2014 at 11:53 am

New research shows Not for Profit leaders are quite positive about the philanthropic climate but warn that corporate giving is on the decline.

The latest Giving Trends and Predictions 2014 sponsored by O’Keefe & Partners explores the current and future giving environment in Australia. 

Over 64 per cent of survey participants said they felt optimistic about the future of philanthropy over the next three years, while 67 per cent of Not for Profit leaders believed that personal giving was steady or rising.

When it comes to engaging with entities including corporates, trusts and foundations, the survey participants were not so positive. However, there was divided feeling about whether things will improve for corporate engagement, with just over 40 per cent saying they felt optimistic.

Over half of the Not for Profit leaders surveyed believed rates of corporate giving and corporate sponsorship to be falling in Australia and one third believed grant making to be on the decline.

However, in 2012/13, less than 25 per cent experienced an actual decrease in corporate sponsorship income. Income from Trust and Foundations declined for just 11 per cent of respondents while remaining steady or rising for just over 67 per cent.

Only 18 per cent of Not for Profit leaders believe Corporate Sponsorship to be rising, yet last year income from sponsorship remained steady or increased for 48 per cent.

Participants in this study were also asked to share what they thought would be the greatest change in the industry over the next 5-10 years.

The vast majority of responses pointed to increased online engagement, greater charitable competition, impact of the economy and generational change.

While many Not for Profit leaders agree that increasing online engagement will have a substantial impact on their fundraising efforts over the next 5-10 years, they were divided on the nature of that impact.

The survey found that some leaders predicted increased use of social media and online giving would help attract support for their cause, while others expressed concern that it would compound the issue of charitable competition.

It found that the deteriorating economic environment is expected to be one of the key future challenges for leaders in the third sector.

As well as the potential impact on personal and corporate giving, “global economic warming” is also likely to open up organisations to closer scrutiny from donors, sponsors and other funders.

In the coming years, the report said, it will be vital that organisations recall the lessons learnt during the Global Financial Crisis and focus on building strong, sustainable fundraising programs.

The report found that charitable competition is tipped to become even fiercer as a growing number of organisations vie for a decreasing pool of money.

There was more talk of gaining competitive advantage and joining forces rather than competition as an insurmountable barrier to success.

“Despite the difference in opinion, it is clear that online engagement is moving from the periphery to the core of the fundraising mix,’ the report said.

“While this will bring both opportunities and challenges for the sector, it is important that organisations embrace the change now and start growing their online presence. However it is also important to maintain perspective and ensure that your online engagement plan integrates with your broader fundraising strategy.”

The report said that as organisations across the sector become more donor-centric, optimism about the state of personal giving remains high.

Efforts in engaging with individuals proved most successful in the areas where an increase in annual income was experienced for a notable proportion of organisations.

The survey data highlighted some areas of opportunity for organisations looking to further their engagement with individual donors.

While capital campaigns remain one of the most meaningful ways to involve donors in the achievement of your charitable vision, more than 70 per cent of respondents did not utilize this proven performer last year.

Only 22 per cent of respondents did not conduct a direct mail appeal during the 2012/2013 financial year.

“Despite the growing popularity of online solicitation, an integrated strategy incorporating direct mail is still the most effective way to grow support for your cause,” the report said.

The survey also asked education, health and other Not for Profit leaders to name the top three challenges influencing fundraising performance for that year.

“In recent years, since the Global Financial Crisis, the cost of fundraising and the economy has consistently topped the list. While these two challenges are still a key concern in positions two and three respectively, we have seen donor acquisition take the top spot for the first time in a number of years.

“This could perhaps indicate a change of consciousness in the sector. More industry leaders named barriers to success that they had the power to influence instead of staying focused on things beyond their control (like the economy).

“Seeing donor acquisition, lack of financial resources, donor retention and low database numbers feature high on the list of challenges, shows that these issues are top of mind with our industry leaders and they are considering what they can do to overcome them,” the report said.

The survey also asked survey respondents to share what they thought were the most effective solicitation techniques. The report said the result revealed an interesting disparity between the methods our Not for Profit leaders feel are effective and the programs they are choosing to implement.

“While “personal approaches” was named the most effective solicitation technique, Capital Appeals or Major Gift programs didn’t appear in the list of most popular fundraising programs.

“Conversely, organisations surveyed were highly likely to have a Corporate Sponsorship program even though sponsorship was not considered to be the most effective solicitation technique.”

The report found the top five most successful fundraising programs were:

  • Bequests
  • Individual Giving
  • Direct Mail
  • Corporate Sponsorship
  • Trusts & Foundations

The less successful fundraising programs were:

  • Emergency Appeals
  • Service Clubs
  • Endowment Programs
  • Pledge Programs
  • Face to Face Selling

The report can be download free (with free registration) here. 

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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