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‘Too little money going to the cause’ remains people’s top reason for not donating

More than half of people now concerned about high staff salaries and are unclear on how donations are spent

  • People’s most common reason for not giving to charity is “too little money going to the cause” (62%) (slide 2)
  • “Too much being spent on staff salaries” is now the second most common reason for not donating on 53%, up 6% from last year. 51% of people are put off by “not being clear about how donations are spent” (slide 2)
  • Nearly half are put off by fundraisers “being too persistent” (46%) and bad publicity (40%), while a third (37%) are put off by fundraising methods that are “too intrusive” (slide 2)
  • However, the public are torn on some issues. 46% think a charity should spend as much of a donation as possible on this year’s need, whereas 40% agree that it should be spent on fundraising if it increases future revenue (slide 4)
  • People are also divided on advertising and marketing. Half (52%) feel that charities have to spend in this area to raise money and make a difference, but big campaigns and advertising put a third (33%) off giving (slide 5)


Charities are likely to lose donations from the public if they are thought to be spending too little on their cause, new research suggests. The poll, carried out by research consultancy nfpSynergy, found that 62% of people say this is their main reason not to give to good causes, making it the top choice for four years running.

“Too much being spent on staff salaries” is now the second most common reason, with half of people saying it would stop them parting with their cash. One in two are also unlikely to give if they are “not clear how donations are spent”.

The research, based on a survey of 1000 British adults, also shows that fundraising also features prominently in people’s reluctance to give. Nearly half said they wouldn’t want to donate if fundraisers were “too persistent” and over a third keep hold of their money if fundraising methods are “too intrusive”.

People seem undecided on charity’s marketing and advertising activities, with just over half agreeing that it is necessary, but a third saying that big campaigns put them off giving.

People were also unsure on whether charities should spend or save, with almost half (46%) saying charities should spend on the cause right away, but 40% agreeing a donation should be spent on fundraising if it increases future revenue.

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

“Telling people what they are spending on the cause, justifying staff salaries and explaining how donations are spent are all barriers that could be removed if only charities communicated better.

There are always going to be people who don’t want to see money spent on anything but the cause, but when are we as a sector going to learn that explaining what we do, why we do it and how it benefits us could increase donations dramatically?”

For further comment from nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton, please contact him directly on 07976 329 212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net

SOURCE: nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor, which regularly surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain, July 2013 wave.

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To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him directly on 07976 329212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net. If you cannot contact Joe, please contact Rob White (07739 463786; E: rob.white@nfpsynergy.net) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy is a research consultancy that aims to provide the ideas, insights and information to help non-profits thrive. We help charities track their profile and engagement levels amongst their key stakeholder groups through regular, syndicated surveys. We also work with charities on bespoke projects, providing a range of quantitative and qualitative research services.


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