The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has recently published its latest 2015 UK Giving Report, which acts as a great temperature-check for charitable giving in the UK. As always, there are some essential facts and figure for everyone to factor into their fundraising strategies. The ones that caught my eye as an arts and cultural charity specialist were as follows:
Regional Variations in Giving Persist
62% of the population have given money to charity in the past year. The regional variations follow the usual trend, with people in Ulster, the South West, Scotland and the South East most likely to have engaged with a charity in some way, and people in the West Midlands and London least likely to have done so. (See the older report by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy on Regional Trends for a more detailed breakdown.)
However, whilst Londoners may be less likely to support a charity overall, they will give more money when they do, with the highest average donation emanating from the capital. This again supports the Giving for Good research previously undertaken by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) that shows there to be more higher-income donors in London. NPC’s research indicated that higher-income donors are also more likely to support arts as a charitable cause, which probably explains why UK Giving shows that Londoners are the most likely to have given to arts causes in the last four weeks.
Developing Relationships with People Matters
The report highlights the significant impact that ‘taking part in a consultation’ has on people’s propensity to engage with a charity. Whilst 62% of people overall gave money to charity, 87% of those who had taken part in a consultation did so. This echoes the advice I always give charities when they want to develop relationships with people - ask for their advice and opinions first, way before you ever ask for money. Involve people in your work, let them understand its importance, and then invite them to support your cause. It is very unusual for people to turn down a request for their advice!
The Most Popular Cause is Now Children and Young People
There has been a marked increase in the popularity of children and young people causes, and a marked decrease in the popularity of medical research and hospital causes. So, whilst arts causes in and of themselves still only receive 0.3% of total charitable donations, it is worth considering the extent to which so much of the charitable cause-related activity undertaken by arts organisations is linked with children and young people. Rather than focusing on the arts-aspect of their activity in any public fundraising campaign, arts charities would probably be far wiser to stress how the activity benefits children and young people.
People Still Give Cash
55% of people gave cash to a charity in the last year. Of course, people also gave money in other ways, but it is really important for charities to ensure that there is some opportunity for the public to give them cash; otherwise they are closing themselves off from an important way of developing a relationship with the public. Cash donations via collection boxes and similar, may not be a major source of income for most charities, but they are a powerful sign of charitable status. It’s also interesting that young people are the most likely to make a cash donation (72% vs. 55% overall), thus dispelling the myth that young people live in a cashless society.
Please do read the full report - it really will help you to contextualize your charity’s fundraising activity within the wider UK context.
What did you find most interesting about the 2016 UK Giving Report? We’d love to hear your thoughts.