Public put off more by how a charity spends its money than how it raises it

  • Top public charitable gripes: amount actually going to causes, and amount spent on admin
  • Public least perturbed by charities campaigning for change
  • “Sector must reassure public that income reaches causes and that costs are relatively low and necessary,” vies Saxton

The public is more put off by how a charity spends its income than how it generates it - according to new research out today.

3 in 5 (61%) of people questioned are worried about the amount that actually goes to a cause and half (51%) are anxious about the amount spent on admin - ahead of other top-five charitable gripes, more relating to fundraising methods: telephone calls at home (45%), collectors’ persistence (44%) and door-to-door collections (39%).

Leading not for profit sector think tank and research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor has tracked a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain for the past decade, uncovering donors’ attitudes and habits as well as what they think of charities’ fundraising strategies and tactics.

Conversely, “charities campaigning for change” (3%) and “not being contacted or updated” (6%) are regarded as the least off-putting charitable activities by the public.

Only 3% of the public say that there is nothing, on a wide-ranging pallet of suggestions, that they find off-putting about charities.

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

“Even negative feedback is a positive boon, if heeded. These latest findings should not only prompt charities to focus ever more on clearly presenting their fundraising tactics as necessary and effective - even if, on occasion, irritating. The data should also, perhaps even more crucially, induce them to reassure the public that donations and other sources of income do largely end up directly helping causes - admin costs being relatively low, and necessary, for the smooth running of any effective voluntary organisation. Otherwise, the public are less likely to give money or engage in other ways. Fundraisers have made progress with the creation of the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising's codes of practice. But the rest of the sector can act too, clarifying how funds raised are actually spent.”

Recent research conducted by nfpSynergy also found that the public dramatically overestimate charities’ admin and fundraising costs, with them falsely believe that, on average, over a third (35%) of a charity’s income actually goes on fundraising and a shocking 40% on admin, when true figures for average-sized charities are likely to be far lower than this.

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MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: adrian@gillanmedia.com) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy (www.nfpsynergy.net) is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.

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