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New report reveals five ways to tackle shortfall in regular giving

As originally featured in London Daily News.

The charity sector is facing a fundraising crisis as six million regular givers disappear in the last five years, according to the latest figures in a research commission by an independent media agency and charity specialist The Kite Factory.

And the situation could be set to worsen with 3.3 million further direct debits likely to be cut as people tighten their belts due to the cost-of-living crisis.

The overall downward trend in charitable giving in the UK is now firmly established. 53% of people surveyed on YouGov gave to charity last year, vs 62% five years ago.

One method of donation that has seen the most significant impact is regular giving through a Direct Debit, which has declined by 35% since 2017 (YouGov: 2017 – 2022).

But the new research reveals there are green shoots of hope for charities fearing a funding crisis and has identified five ways to not only plug the gap but to potentially grow revenue with a recommendation to focus on regular givers through Direct Debit.

The new research showed that the age range of regular givers is wide – over half the audience is aged 26-65 – yet 58% of all regular givers are over 55 and 35% are retired.

Other key findings include:

  • UK adults have on average two regular gifts and 43% of UK adults have more than 1 regular gift (Direct Debit donations) to charities
  • 1.45 million UK adults who don’t currently hold a Direct Debit but would consider having at least one
  • 1.76 million 18-35’s who don’t currently donate by regular gift that would consider it
  • 47% of the survey are motivated for starting a regular gift because of the belief in the cause
  • 13% would consider cancelling their charity Direct Debit when cutting back on spending

Charley Day, Strategy Director, The Kite Factory said: Regular giving is a significant and dependable income stream for charities. As business strategies go, it’s hard to beat. What became evident from our research with YouGov is that the range of regular giving is wider than once thought, in fact over half the audience is aged between 26 – 65. And despite 58% of regular givers being over 55, 18 – 24s are most likely to consider having up to 3 Direct Debits at one time.

To plug the funding gap and secure future giving, charities need to engage a younger audience, who have more appetite to support causes they believe in, but vital to this engagement is appealing to their values and motivations. Our research has identified an audience who would happily give to multiple causes and tapping into them could be crucial to survival.”

Day continued: “This audience needs transparency, with 47% being triggered to give a Direct Debit to help better a world that they believe in. So it’s important to ask yourself why should someone support the cause you are championing? Help your audience understand exactly what you stand for and deliver the robust giving strategy to allow them to see the human impact of their donation”

From the research, The Kite Factory has created five rules to help charities continue to grow their regular giving database.

  1. Reach younger audiences with a message of hope
  2. Find people who understand the benefits of regular giving and deepen their loyalty through transparency
  3. Put your cause front and centre to appeal to the widest audience.
  4. Have a balanced channel mix and aim for share of voice.
  5. Make flexibility your mantra