More than half of charities do not expect fundraising revenue to return to pre-pandemic levels “by end of year”

Over half of not-for-profit organisations do not expect fundraising revenue to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by Pro Bono Economics in partnership with the Charity Finance Group (CFG) and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, provides an in-depth review of charity finances in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the survey, more than half (54 per cent) of charities do not expect to reach pre-pandemic levels of fundraising events by the end of this year.

More than one in five charities, meanwhile, have reduced spending on fundraising activities in the past 12 months due to “cost constraints, uncertainty about future restrictions and furloughed staff”.

In addition, almost two in three charities (62 per cent) are seeing “lower public demand” for charity fundraising events.

The findings reflect a wider negative outlook, with seven in 10 (70 per cent) charities expecting the pandemic to have a “negative” impact on their ability to deliver charitable objectives over the next year.

The study also reveals:

  • 57 per cent of smaller charities have seen their overall income drop, compared with 45 per cent of larger charities
  • 76 per cent of charities had tried new delivery models, 59 per cent increased their workforce digital skills and 42 per cent collaborated with other charities in response to the pandemic
  • Just four per cent of smaller charities are carrying out fundraising events at pre-crisis levels, compared with 10 per cent per cent of larger charities
  • 53 per cent of charities saw an increase in demand for their services

Commenting on the findings, Jack Larkham, Research and Policy Analyst at Pro Bono Economics, said: “With all the positive talk of the economy bouncing back strongly as the country moves on from the worst of the pandemic, the very real challenges facing the social sector risk being overlooked.

“Charities have seen demand for their services rocket during the pandemic, with the long-lasting impact of the crisis meaning that situation is set to persist even as the country recovers. But elevated demand comes alongside a sharp squeeze on charity resources.

“Lockdowns and social-distancing rules have made in-person fundraising events – a key source of income for thousands of charities – impossible, and more than half of charities do not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels of events in 2021.”

Click here to access the Pro Bono Economics Charity Tracker.

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