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Fundraising experts believe that major giving and legacies are most likely to sustain charities over the next three to five years, while corporate giving and community fundraising are most likely to decline, according to surveys from the UK and the Netherlands.
The UK study carried out by The Management Centre (=mc consulting) was replicated in the Netherlands, asking fundraising leaders and specialist consultants to share their thoughts on what the next three to five years hold for fundraising.
In a Fondsenwerving blog post, Reinier Spruit published the results of the Dutch study, which summarised the views of 31 fundraising experts (fundraising department heads and consultants). He reported that major donors, legacies, and individual regular giving were seen to be the most likely areas for growth in fundraising income over the next 3-5 years, while corporate giving, community fundraising and earned income/services were predicted to decline.
78% of those asked thought income from major donors was likely to rise, along with 71% for bequests, and 70% for regular giving. 45% thought income from corporate fundraising was likely to shrink, along with 34% for community fundraising and events, and 29% for earned income/services.
“The results are not surprising. Legacies, major giving and regular donors have been a priority in every fundraising strategy I’ve seen in recent years. However, I am particularly happy that regular giving comes by as a growth area, because from time to time you hear these opinions and views that donors are not willing to commit anymore. I completely disagree. People know that to solve the world’s biggest problems support is needed for a longer period of time. And they want to give for a longer period of time. It’s our challenge to give our donors the best giving experience, so that they want to keep giving.”
In the UK study, =mc consulting collated the views of 25 fundraising experts, finding that half of UK respondents predicted a drop in corporate giving, with a decline in community/event fundraising also anticipated. And, whereas the Netherlands expects to see growth in regular giving, the majority of UK respondents either expect to see a decline (54%), or for it to remain static, with only 23% thinking it will grow.
However, as in the Netherlands, UK experts also pointed to legacies and major donors as areas where they anticipate significant growth. 77% expect growth in legacies/bequests, and 81% in income from major donors. Many also predicted an increase in one-off donations, with =mc consulting querying whether this could reflect the sense that supporters are reluctant to make longer-term regular commitments.
Bernard Ross, managing director at =mc consulting, commented:
“The changes we are seeing in society and in fundraising are so disruptive that trends data and benchmarking – what happened in the past – are more or less useless: ‘driving by looking exclusively in the rearview mirror, hoping the road ahead is the same.’ Fundraising directors, working with their CEOs and Boards need to make some big bold bets to safeguard income and services. What this research shows is that UK, Dutch and US fundraisers don’t all agree, but there are some common threads. The scenarios work we’re doing will help discover the ways forward.”
A third study among US fundraisers echoed the UK and Dutch findings, anticipating gains from bequests, major donors, and regular donors. Half foresaw a drop in corporate giving.
A phase two of the research is now underway, creating scenarios over the next five years with around 45 of the top fundraisers from the three studies.