The proportion of individuals donating to charity in Spain grew by 4 per cent between 2014 and 2016, now accounting for almost one quarter (24%) of the population, according to a new study from the Spanish Fundraising Association, Asociación Española de Fundraising (AEFr).


According to the 'Donor Profile' study, 9.5 million people give to charity in Spain and a further 6.3 million were identified as potential donors. Typically, a Spanish donor is female, aged 46, university educated, married or living with a partner and childless. The most popular causes are the fight against hunger and third world development, children and young people, disasters, and human rights.


The study also looked at why people donate, and found that 57% donate to show solidarity with the most needy, 23% donate from a justice perspective (with the conviction that the world could be better), and 20% for personal satisfaction.


Regular givers have become an increasingly important source of funding for NGOs, already accounting for 38% of the income of the 16 charities that participated in the study, while government funding has dropped marginally, accounting for 46% of income in 2016 (down from 47% in 2014/15).


According to the AEFr, the average regular giver supports a charity for over 8 years, with 30% continue for more than a decade. The number of regular donors are on the rise and over a third (35%) have supported their current cause for less than three years in 2016, up from 31% in 2015.


The main supporter recruitment channels are telemarketing (36%) and face-to-face (33%). Postal mailing recruits 9% of supporters while digital channels recruit 6%. Most donors are concentrated in Madrid (20%), Barcelona (11%) and Valencia (4%), although as a proportion of population density, Huesca (13%) and Soria (11%) are the provinces with most regular givers.


The average charity supporter in Spain gives €133 a year, although the amount increases with the length of time of their gift, rising to €141 for those who have given for 5-10 years. The study suggests that the main reason for cancelling a regular gift is usually due to the supporter's financial circumstances. Over a third (36%) stopped giving because they no longer had an income (36%) and a further 27% cancelled their donation for other economic reasons.


While the research findings paint a very positive picture for charities in Spain, the AEFr is currently looking into the potential effects of new money laundering legislation (Law 10/2010 on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Regulation 304/2014). This regulation puts in place restrictions on the acceptance of certain donations over €100 per year. Together with the new GPDR regulations, there are concerns that this could make the fundraising environment even more challenging for nonprofits.


Working with other industry bodies, the AEFr is launching an advocacy campaign to increase the state's understanding of the sector’s concerns and needs.