Money, money, money…

Despite the current economic climate, it appears that long-term, regular charitable giving is on the rise.  UK Giving 2008, found that although cash donations have fallen, the amount of planned giving has risen, with donations by direct debit rising from £2.4billion to £2.5billion, whilst payroll giving increased from £88million to £96million, and overall, giving before the banking crisis was at a record £10.6billion.

These figures seem very positive, but, given the current economic climate, many people will be wondering what will happen in the next year.  Giving drives the voluntary sector economy, and it should be asked what effect the overall tightening of belts will have.  Some fear that giving will fall, however, on the flip side, an economic downturn may encourage altruism when people see others suffering.  The evidence of what actually happens in a downturn is limited, but building in resilience to strategic plans is a good idea at the moment.  The current unease will also bring trust into the picture, with people likely to give to those organisations they believe can actually make a difference; now is therefore the time more than ever to think about how your organisation can build and maintain this trust.  And sharing your thoughts might help others plan.  For example:

  • What do you think will happen to giving over the next year? 
  • How is your organisation planning at the moment? 
  • Have you noticed a difference in the way your organisation is perceived?
Last updated at 11:29 Wed 24/Dec/08.
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Karl's picture


Third Sector Foresight

In response to the findings of UK Giving 2008 that cash donations have fallen, some have asked whether small charities will suffer.

The answer is no. The gradual shift from ‘spontaneous’ cash giving to regular, planned giving reflects changes in the broader economy. As more purchases are carried out using credit or debit cards and over the web, donations are inevitably following. Like small retailers, small charities will adapt.

It’s not just large charities that can use the new cashless payment methods. Web-based payment systems such as Paypal ‘level the playing field’ due to their simplicity and low transaction costs. Micro payments will widen the donor community, an opportunity for charities with even the simplest web sites. Other cashless payment systems might increase levels of giving – imagine a future where the swipe of an Oyster card enables Londoners to donate. Megan explored these issues in ICT Foresight: charitable giving and fundraising in a digital world (free to download)

Finally, this isn’t a zero sum game. The transition from cash giving has corresponded with an increase in total giving. In a world where we use the web increasingly to manage our relationships, the question is not whether small charities will suffer, but will they take the opportunities to help them prosper.

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