Media release: Nearly one-quarter of donors expect to give less: report

The pandemic is taking its toll on Australian donors with new research showing that some Australians expect to give less in the future and others even reluctant to give up their chocolate in the process.

Just under half of the 2,237 respondents claimed to have donated in some way to support charities through the pandemic, according to the report commissioned by Fundraising Institute Australia, the peak body for fundraisers, and conducted by More Strategic, a consultancy to the charity sector.

The Public Attitudes to Giving in the Pandemic found 23 per cent of respondents said they expect to give less in the future (up from 12 per cent in January). This was close to the estimate of declining income of 18 per cent made by over 100 fundraisers in a More Strategic/FIA study in September.

Nearly 40 per cent of people claim to have reduced expenditure and many are managing their finances through savings and more careful budgeting. Around one in seven have accessed government support schemes like JobKeeper, JobSeeker or their superannuation.

The study found that the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to reflect on what matters to them, the vital role charities play in society, the impact if they were to cease operating, and the importance of charities continuing to fundraise in this challenging environment.

“Most people hope to sustain their giving. The underlying factors that emotionally support giving are strong. People just have reduced capacity, not intent,” said Katherine Raskob, FIA chief executive.

The study found trust in charities remains high, with over half of respondents scoring the sector 7 out of 10 or more. Charities scored more highly for being ethical and honest than for being well run. Only half of donors and a third of non-donors consider charities to be well run.

“Charities need to shift the public assessment of charity effectiveness from one of minimising costs to one of maximising impact,” said Ms Raskob.

Most donors also think there are too many charities with 57 per cent of respondents saying charities should merge. Ms Raskob urged charities to ask the tough questions: “does this program deliver the impact it should, is what we do unique and better than the way someone else does it? What matters most?”

Other report highlights:

  • Cutting charity donations was the sixth most likely area to be cut from a list of 12 options. People were more likely to cut donations than reduce their purchases of chocolate. However, there are differences between active donors and those that don’t give. Very low or infrequent donors had charity giving as the second priority to cut. In contrast, donors contributing more than $500 put cutting charity as the next to least likely area to cut before food and drink.
  • Donors are slightly more likely to think their financial expectations will get a little better. Overall, 39 per cent of donors think things will get better compared to 36 per cent of non-donors. South Australians and Victorians were most likely to think their financial situations will get worse.
  • Older respondents were most supportive of the need to continue fundraising during the pandemic.
  • Those aged 25-34 were the most likely to say they will increase charitable giving. Those in the 35-54 age bracket say they would be very likely to reduce their charitable giving while the over 65s were the most likely to say their giving would stay the same. ACT and NSW respondents were more likely to say they would give more.
  • The most popular causes were health and medical research, children’s charities and animal welfare. However, the causes where people had the highest total annual giving (across all causes) were religious, overseas development and education.
  • Online donations are the most popular way to support charities with 49 per cent of people donating this way. Younger respondents were most likely to give online and also to participate in fundraising events. NSW and WA respondents were more likely to respond to appeals while older respondents were most likely to be making mail donations, volunteering and engaging with op shops.

About Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA)

FIA is the largest representative body for the $10.5 billion fundraising sector. FIA members include charities and other fundraising not-for-profits operating domestically and internationally as well as the organisations and professionals that provide services to them. FIA advocates for the interests of the sector, administers a self-regulatory Code, educates fundraising practitioners, promotes research, and creates forums for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.

For more information/interviews:

Kim Carter 

0407 771 698