How big is your donor?

Along with the World Cup (depending on the team, of course), we celebrate fund raising achievements. We look at results and trends from last year and partly with a sigh of relief and hope for this year: in 2013 in US charitable giving was at the same level it was before the financial crisis and in UK there was an £800m increase in donations. So, why we shouldn’t do better this year? In reality we should also ask ourselves if this is the result of more people giving or if we are simply fishing in the same pond with a lower offer. Mark Astarita, the fundraising director of British Red Cross and outgoing chair of UK Institute of Fundraising, simply put it “Over 30 years of professional fundraising have we grown the pie, are more people giving? I’m not so sure.” And Ken Burnett argued that the actual costs of acquisition with typical low retention rates are not sustainable and charities would be stupid if they don’t take action to avoid eating their seed corn. (more…)