How can fundraisers adapt during the cost-of-living crisis?

23 September 2022
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In this blog, Policy Manager Charlotte Weatherley looks at feedback from members around the cost-of-living crisis, how it is affecting charities and what fundraisers can do to encourage giving.

Research is starting to reveal that the cost-of-living crisis is making it harder for many donors to give, whilst simultaneously increasing demand for services and the cost of running them. Fundraisers are now faced with the challenge of increasing income to keep services running, whilst remaining sensitive to donors’ financial difficulties.  

We have been reaching out to members and holding forums to discuss how the crisis is affecting fundraising and share ideas on how to face these challenges. Much like with the COVID pandemic, every charity’s experience so far has been different, however, some patterns are starting to surface in certain areas of fundraising. 

What are the biggest challenges?

Individual Giving Fundraisers are starting to see more direct debit cancellations, even from long-term and loyal donors. Similarly, there has been a shift in response to appeals. Those who would typically give small amounts are no longer responding, whilst mid-value givers are still sending in donations, and in some cases increasing the amount they give. Making up any shortfall in income is also proving to be more difficult, as the cost of acquisition is going up. 

Event income is also not bouncing back post-COVID as much as some charities would have hoped. Whilst face-to-face events have returned, fundraisers have had to look at how to make them more affordable, particularly family events. Equally, the amount raised by those taking on challenges is decreasing, although it’s hard to confirm this is due to the cost-of-living crisis or market saturation.  

Where are there opportunities?

Legacy income appears to be holding up the strongest across the board, whilst for other areas of fundraising, charities’ situations are more varied. For example, some charities are seeing increased support from major donors, corporates and trusts, particularly those who are providing frontline services. That said, other charities are seeing support from these areas decrease as donors and partners face their own financial challenges or shift their support to other causes.  

What is important to remember is that although charities are asking for money, they also have knowledge and experience that will is invaluable for donors and partners looking to support others. This will likely accelerate the already prevalent shift towards shared value partnerships and philanthrocapitalism.  

What can fundraisers do for their donors?

These are substantial challenges that can’t be solved overnight, however, thanks to our members we do have some advice for fundraisers:  

We are want to keep speaking to members as the crisis continues to find the best way to support you and provide opportunities to share knowledge across the fundraising community. If you would like to be involved, please get in touch with  

Charlotte Weatherley
Charlotte Weatherley
Policy Manager at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
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