Finns have significantly increased their charitable giving since 2020, digging deep to support those impacted by the war in Ukraine, to fund humanitarian aid and emergency response. But some good causes are losing their market share. These are the findings of a recent study conducted by the Finnish Fundraising Association – VaLa.
In April 2022, 1,000 members of the public were surveyed by independent research agency IRO Research Oy about their giving habits, exploring the effects of the crisis in Ukraine on attitudes to giving in Finland. The results were compared to a similar study conducted two years ago, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost twice as many Finns donate
Respondents were asked about their support for charity during the last two months. The proportion of people saying they had donated in that timeframe had almost doubled from 23% in 2020 to 43% in the 2022 survey. The most popular causes for donors were helping those affected by the war in Ukraine (49%), and delivering humanitarian aid or responding to emergencies (41%). Respondents were most likely to have been prompted to help by seeing appeals on social media (26%), through broadcast and print advertisements (26%) and in news reports (22%).
The proportion of people giving regularly remained the same during the two surveys at one fifth (21%), while those giving on an ad hoc basis increased from 30% to 38%. For these occasional donors, the Ukraine crisis has been a major spur for their giving, while other causes such as helping vulnerable people in Finland (falling from 45% to 26%) and those abroad (dropping from 33% to 21%) are losing their share of the market.
Participation in volunteering remained at its previous level – at 10%, while those who had neither donated or volunteered decreased considerably from 47% to a little over one third (35%).
Commenting from the University of Helsinki, Professor of Urban Theology Henrietta Grönlund and Professor in Church and Social Studies Anne Birgitta Pessi, report:
“The first step in all giving is the awareness of need. People are fundamentally compassionate and willing to help, but we need reminders that our help is needed. In the context of the war in Ukraine, the need for help has really come to everyone’s attention through many channels, and the Finns have exceptionally set out to help those in need.’’
Public support for Ukraine and people affected by the war
During the war in Ukraine, Finns have shown an unprecedented desire to help and support those affected by the war. Nonprofits in other fields have also shown strong solidarity with those organisations, with some deciding to cancel or postpone their own fundraising appeals and have even encouraged their donors to support those responding to the Ukraine crisis.
The survey also explored how the situation in Ukraine is likely to affect donation decisions in the future. More than half of respondents said they plan to maintain or increase their donation levels in future, with almost one quarter (23%) intending to donate more and 28% saying they would retain their donation levels. None of the respondents indicated that they would reduce or stop donating.
In future, respondents say they are likely to continue donating towards humanitarian aid and emergency appeals (37%) and to support those affected by the war in Ukraine (36%). One-third of the respondents said they would help vulnerable people in Finland in the future, down from 42% two years ago. Donors also indicate they are less likely to donate towards the prevention, treatment, and support for various diseases (20%), vulnerable people in developing countries (20%) and the environment and nature (19%).
Pia Tornikoski, Secretary General of VaLa, adds:
“Almost 30 communities are raising money to help Ukraine and Ukrainians, and currently they have raised more than 55 million euros. NGOs hope that citizens and businesses continue to provide valuable support to Ukraine but will also remember the importance of other causes too.”
Main photo (a tram on a crowded street in Helsinki) by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash
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