The COVID-19 pandemic has had lasting and multiple consequences on all causes in France, with charities concerned now for its impact on end of year giving, a report from France generosités has found.
The first half of the year saw donations rise 22% In France compared to the same period in 2019 as people responded to the new emergency situation at the start of the pandemic. However, while the final quarter of the year is typically when more than 40% of annual donations are given – half of this in December alone – research shows that only 26% of the French currently believe they will be ready to give by the end of 2020 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the economic crisis.
Pierre Siquier, president of France generosités commented:
“We salute the support and generosity of the French who have responded to this crisis. However, these emergency donations were made in response to an unprecedented situation and to exceptional needs; and other causes still need to be financed.”
According to France generosités, half of its member organisations are more than 80% dependent on donations for their income, and almost a third have already seen donations and sponsorship fall this year. Some causes, such as those in the sports and culture sectors, as well as less visible organisations, are struggling to raise money altogether, with the cancellation of fundraising events adding to the pressure.
The AFM-Telethon, for example, which raises funds to finance medical research and treatment for neuromuscular disorders, receives more than 90% of its annual donations during its December Telethon, and its associated fundraising events.
Claire Schiller-Heuzé, its director of resource development, commented:
“Fundraising for events is at risk. We must send a strong signal to donors so that they increase their generosity at the end of the year, otherwise we risk missing out on essential resources for our missions.”
And, while some charities have received more donations than usual during the crisis, demands on their services have also risen, meaning they too still need the extra funds.
The French Red Cross saw an exceptional level of donations in the first half of 2020, which have made it possible to finance the exceptional programmes needed this year. However, these extra demands on its services are ongoing, meaning year-end fundraising remains critical.
Jean-Christophe Combe, the charity’s director general explained:
“We have seen an explosion of needs on the ground during lockdown which will be lasting and we need donations to finance them.”
In response to the situation, France generosités is asking the government to implement a series of measures through its 2021 Finance Bill to help stimulate giving. These include changes to the tax system to incentivise younger donors and to increase the tax reduction rate for donors subject to income tax. They also include the creation of a tax credit on general social contribution (CSG) for donors who not pay income tax, and a simplification of the rules for including a legacy in a Will.