A Small Price to Pay: The pros and cons of charging charity beneficiaries*

Vending machine set against black background

The Covid pandemic demonstrated how vulnerable many fundraising techniques are to the effects of lockdown. Events, street collections/fundraising, shops, and door to door fundraising have all been devastated by the pandemic. So as fundraising income is depressed - in some cases possibly for years - how can charities make up for the loss in income? This paper looks at the legal, practical, mission and pricing challenges of charging beneficiaries, as an alternative source of revenue.

Charities offer a diverse range of services, from addiction recovery programmes and pet hospitals to community minibus services and art galleries. Deciding whether to charge beneficiaries for these services can elicit strong views, even outside of a pandemic. The significance of the decision, and the potential implications resulting from charging, varies enormously depending on several factors. 

Legally, charities are entirely permitted to charge beneficiaries for services they provide, and financial data for the sector suggests that there are significant benefits of doing so. We consider evidence from a wide range of research to help answer some key questions facing charities when considering their approach towards charging. This includes:
 
Evaluations of the impact of pricing strategies for specific development and health interventions 
Research into pricing and the psychology of consumption 
 
Use the link below to download the report.
 
If you would like to chat about this report, tweet us @nfpSynergy or email us at insight@nfpsynergy.net.
 
*We know that not everyone likes to use the term 'beneficiaries' when describing the people who use the services their charity or organisation provides. We have chosen to use this term in this report for its conciseness, and for the lack of a consensus on a better alternative for the third sector. We will be publishing a blog exploring the issues around this term in the coming weeks - please tweet us at @nfpSynergy or drop us an email (insight@nfpsynergy.net) if you'd like to share your views on the term 'beneficiary' or your preferred alternative(s).

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A Small Price to Pay - nfpSynergy Report

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