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Aftershocks of pandemic stifle Aussies’ generosity

25 November 2020 at 9:54 pm
Maggie Coggan
People are more likely to cut donations to charity than reduce the amount of chocolate they buy, a new survey finds  

Maggie Coggan | 25 November 2020 at 9:54 pm


Aftershocks of pandemic stifle Aussies’ generosity
25 November 2020 at 9:54 pm

People are more likely to cut donations to charity than reduce the amount of chocolate they buy, a new survey finds  

Charities must prepare for a downturn in donations in 2021, experts say, as new research reveals nearly a quarter of people are expecting to give less in the future because of the pandemic.

The survey, published by Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) and More Strategic, found that 40 per cent of respondents reduced expenditure and were managing finances through savings and careful budgeting throughout the pandemic. 

Around one in seven respondents have also accessed government support during this time. 

Cutting charity donations was found to be the sixth most likely area to be cut from a list of 12 options, with people more likely to cut charity donations than reduce their purchasing of chocolate. 

Katherine Raskob, the CEO of the FIA, told Pro Bono News that the results of the survey showed Australian donors were uncertain about their economic future and how much they were able to give in these uncertain times. 

“It does look like the pandemic is definitely taking its toll on Australian donors,” Raskob said. 

Compared with a survey published by FIA in January – which found 70 per cent of people said they would continue to give in the same way as they always had, and 18 per cent said they would increase their giving levels – Raskob said it was clear the impacts of the pandemic were going to be “greater than originally thought”.

“Obviously, we didn’t know in January how long the pandemic was going to last or what was going to happen, and it was just the start,” she said.  

“I think that means that charities need to be prepared for another year and possibly the year after that for reduced income from fundraising activities, and that will be a challenge for their operations.” 

Trust remains high 

But, it’s not all bad news for charities. 

The report found that the pandemic had caused people to reflect on what mattered to them, the vital role charities play in society and the potential impact if charities should stopped operating.   

When it came to how trusted charities were, over half of all respondents scored the sector seven out of 10 or more. 

But, only half of donors and one-third of non-donors said charities were well run. 

Raskob said in a time of dropping donations it was important that organisations were asking themselves the tough questions.  

“Does this program deliver the impact it should, is what we do unique and better than the way someone else does it? What matters most?” she said. 

She added that it was critical charities didn’t just “give up and go home”, and that this was the time to focus on supporter engagement and forming relationships, even if donors couldn’t give back in the way they normally might. 

“It may be that you’re not able to ask your supporters for funds now, but keeping in touch with them and making sure you tell them what impact you’re making with the funds that they’ve already given is so important,” she said. 

See a full copy of the report here. 

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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