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The number of people in UK having to review their day-to-day expenditure has risen by almost two thirds (64%) in the last four weeks, prompting fears over the future of regular giving income for charities against a backdrop of rising demand for services. One quarter of UK adults (24.6%) say they are reviewing their ‘non-essential’ outgoings, up from 15% one month ago.
These figures, by About Loyalty in their weekly Public Sentiment Tracker, identify a spike in people’s concerns about meeting day-to-day living costs as Covid fears diminish but worries about the economy and employment grow, indicating many more people are likely to need direct support from charities, such as foodbanks and welfare services, in the months ahead.
However, the tracker also reveals that people’s confidence in charities is high and that they believe charities are more important now than they were before Covid. Net trust2 in charities has remained strong throughout the pandemic, rising 34% from +30.5% to +40.9% over the past four weeks. This is in contrast to trust in other organisations and institutions, with trust in the Government currently sitting at -9%.
Net importance of charitable causes has risen by 72%, growing from 18% when tracking began in April 2020 to 31% in September 2021. The perceived importance of charities varies considerably by cause type, with local, environment and NHS charities gaining considerable ground since the start of the pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, the environment scored very low but has recovered steadily.
Over the past four weeks, as news headlines have been dominated by the surge in Covid cases, the unrest in Afghanistan, and the Paralympics, the public’s recognition of the importance of the armed forces (up 18%), health (up 13%), support for those living with disabilities (up 10%) and overseas aid (up 9%) have all risen significantly. And in the last week alone, the relative importance of local causes has increased by almost 8%.
Richard Spencer, director of research-based consultancy About Loyalty, says: “Once more charities are facing a double-edged sword where some supporters will inevitably have to cut back on donations as they seek to manage their finances, while there will be even greater strain on charities when it comes to service delivery.
“It’s so important for fundraisers to be aware of the increased pressure on people’s purse strings, their worries, health and wellbeing at times like this; to understand what’s likely to be keeping them awake at night, and what their current priorities really are. With this knowledge, charities can resonate, ensuring their communications are relevant, spark interest and genuinely engage.”
Richard adds: “While increased financial pressure will never be good news for charities, it’s at times like these that the public really connects with organisations that support those in need. People believe charities are important and trust is high, both key foundations for growing loyalty and regular giving.”
The figures have been released by About Loyalty 18 months after the weekly tracking study was first launched at the start of the pandemic with the intention of monitoring public sentiments around COVID-19 and a broad range of issues that can directly impact charitable support. The research team continues to monitor consumer attitudes to giving and related issues. Find out more here.
Related feature: Why reading the room is essential for supporter loyalty
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash