Getting some perspective: Charity Benchmarks

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The latest Charity Benchmark monitor report is now out, Co-Founder at Open Creates James Briggs explains why they felt it was so important to have a big-picture view of what is going on with fundraising in the sector.

TLDR: Our Charity Benchmarks Covid Monitor Report is out now and you can download it for free. It’s (obviously) been one hell of a year and having some numbers helps make sense of what’s happened. If you’re not already part of the project, please get on board.

When we presented the results of the 2019 Charity Benchmarks project, we really felt like we were getting somewhere. We’d spoken to a significant sample of fundraising leaders to paint a picture of the huge challenges facing the industry. And we’d crunched the data behind £2bn of voluntary income. We were up and running. 

Then 2020 happened. And, like everyone else, we needed a new plan.

Our first instinct was to press pause. But we quickly realised that, now more than ever, it was important to have a big-picture view of what was going on – and how individual organisations fared within that context. 

So we spoke to participants and developed a streamlined version of the report that would give us a quarter-by-quarter view of how the sector was impacted – as well as talking to leaders about what it might all mean.

We think the results are fascinating. 

Putting aside the terrible effects of the pandemic on individuals and society, the impact on our industry has been significant and far-reaching.

Fundraising ‘in real life’ was clearly affected the worst. Retail, events and face-to-face recruitment collapsed. Problems in the probate service saw legacy revenues held up in the system. And over half of the staff represented in our survey were furloughed at some point – well above the national average.

When it came to digital, however, charities benefited from a renewed focus and a surge in online activity among the public – particularly older people. The total number of donations made online almost trebled and the volume of regular givers recruited more than doubled.

The story with cash was similarly dramatic. Domestic charities ran emergency appeals, revenues doubled and hundreds of thousands of new supporters appeared on charities’ files overnight. And a charity nobody had ever heard of raised over £130m without the benefit of a fundraising department.

And that’s all before we’ve crunched the Q4 data…

If you’d like to read our FREE 49-page report then you can download it here. You can also see us present it here. But if you’re reading this and you work at a medium-to-large UK charity that isn’t yet involved then please get in touch.

We’re currently gathering Q4 data ready for a revised report in April. So we have a couple of weeks or so when new participants can get involved. 

If you share your data, you’ll get a bigger & more detailed version of the report. And, far more importantly, you’ll get a bespoke report for your charity showing how you’re performing relative to the market. It’s great insight to have for planning, reporting and helping colleagues and trustees understand the wider context.

And, of course, the more people who take part the better the data becomes and the bigger the impact for the whole sector. So please, grab a copy and get stuck in. But if you can, please also join in. We really would love to hear from you.

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