Status of UK Fundraising 2020: key findings

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Yesterday our colleagues at Blackbaud Europe, in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising, launched the highly anticipated Status of UK Fundraising 2020 report. The annual report is an essential benchmarking tool for charities, sharing insights on sector performance, trends and peer opinions. This year nearly 2,000 people working in non-profits across the UK contributed to the survey, providing one of the most in-depth and informative Status of UK Fundraising reports to date.

The report is divided into five core sections and we’ve pulled out a few key highlights that we think will be of particular interest to you.

COVID-19 sector impact

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 is seen as the biggest challenge to overcome – one third of charities don’t think they will survive and 70% of respondents, regardless of the size of their organisation, said this was the main fundraising challenge the charity sector will face over the next three years. That said two thirds are maintaining their fundraising budgets and are confident their org will recover.

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Mindset and culture

The research revealed there are three types of organisations with distinct mindsets and approaches in their response to COVID-19.

  • Well supported, digital fundraisers:
    They agree strongly they are coping well, experience income growth last year, their org is very willing to innovate, have digital fundraising tools and skills and believe it is the future
  • Adaptors:
    Agree they are coping well, but their organisation is less willing to try new things and they don’t have the rigth digital fundraising tools and skills in place. They also feel virtual fundraising is not for them.
  • Financially limited:
    This group of fundraisers lack confidence in their organisation’s survival, they’re reluctant to appeal for funds, feel virtual fundraising is not right for them and disagree that virtual fundraising is the future.

This was consistent across all sizes of organisations, revealing that mindset and culture are more important than size, and crucial in a charity’s ability to adapt and thrive in response to the pandemic. Similarly, the reasons given for managing to grow income remain the same as last year: having the right people with the right skills and being willing to innovate.

Virtual fundraising

55% of respondents acknowledged that one of the main challenges in the year ahead will be adapting to new ways of fundraising with more charities than ever before turning to virtual fundraising to generate income. It appears the pandemic has accelerated the uptake with 75% of organisations trying virtual fundraising for the first time during lockdown, and it was encouraging to see that 64% said it proved to be an effective way to attract new supporters and 59% believed it was a useful way to engage with their existing supporter base.

Over a third (37%) said they think that virtual fundraising is the future of fundraising. One survey respondent said,

“We have actually been surprised by the positive response and will continue to engage in these ways. Our supporters tend to be in older age groups but this has not limited our online engagement.”

Working from home

Prior to the pandemic, nearly a quarter of people had never worked from home before in their current role. However, the majority of people have been working from home during lockdown and despite the change in working environment, morale remains high – 86% feel they are being effective, 73% are enjoying it and 67% would like to continue to work from home more in the future.

Read the full report

If you want to read the full findings and discover how other charities are adapting in order to generate income during COVID-19, as well as benchmark your organisation’s performance against others in the sector, then the Status of UK Fundraising report is a great free tool that you can download.

Get your own copy of the full report here.

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Toni Gregory is a B2B copywriter at JustGiving. She is passionate about creating content that shares and showcases the incredible work that charities do.