Giving to charity may seem an odd indicator for economic growth, but recent research conducted for Halifax Giving Monitor suggests that 76% of people are now donating the same amount or more to charities than they did in 2008 before the economic downturn.
The uncertain global financial outlook was always likely to impact on charitable giving and the brighter forecast for the future is a strong driver for the growth in giving. Interestingly, whilst giving cash to collectors remains the most common method of donating money to charity, there has been a significant growth in regular contributions by direct debit and through payroll schemes.
The importance of consistent contributions of this kind to charitable organisations cannot be underestimated. Whilst economic circumstances might impact a charity's income, its costs are likely to remain consistent. Donations from corporates and high net worth individuals are particularly important. These enable charities to plan effectively and can enable support for long term projects. The 2014 Sunday Times Giving List (due to be published over the next two weeks by the publication) shows a record number of 165 philanthropists that donated more than £1 million to charity, with 20 individuals giving more than £25 million in the past year.
Significant research is critical to generating these kinds of donations. Any approach to a potential donor needs to be timely, relevant and targeted effectively. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of doing the right homework on a high net worth individual before making an approach.
For the National Trust these kinds of issues are central to the daily work of the research team. The charity has to generate revenues of more than £400 million per year to conduct its work. National Trust relies on Nexis to support this work , as Sacha Newman, Research Manager at the charity outlined: "Nexis enables us to build a stronger and richer picture of our supporters; how their businesses and assets are performing, recent news about them and their business relationships with others. This helps to add colour to the picture of our benefactors and prospects and ensures we make the right approach at the right time for their support."
Well researched and justified approaches for support deliver a far greater rate of success to charities. As the appetite for charitable giving increases again in the UK after the economic crisis, charities wishing to generate more effective approaches to philanthropists will need the right tools at their disposal.
Click here for more information on how Nexis can support donor research.