The State of the Charity Sector

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In this blog, our headline sponsor of our 2023 Insight Conference, Wood for Trees, reflect on their State of the Sector report launch.

We launched our State of the Sector report at the 2023 Insight Conference, an event we were extremely proud to be a headline sponsor of. It’s an event like no other and a must for anyone in the sector. As ever, this year was extremely insightful; we heard all about the issues, specialisms and changes impacting the sector. It felt like the right place to speak about our new report, something our fellow attendees seemed to find interesting and, hopefully, helpful.

OK means different things to different people: “good,” “bad” or “just OK.” What we mean here is: “It really could be worse.”

In our annual State of the Sector report we investigate key trends from the last year and show how they compare with the years prior. The information in the report is collated from our InsightHub benchmarking reports. These reports gather raw CRM data from a range of charities across the sector. The data is transformed and standardised allowing us to aggregate fundraising KPIs to show the overall health of the landscape.

A pleasant surprise

After a sizeable jump in 2021, last year saw a 2% fall in income, excluding legacy gifts. However, that income was still higher than that of 2018, 2019 and 2020. We were reassured by that  – given everything that’s happened in the early 2020s – the sector is actually healthier than we were expecting.

So now we’ve soothed you with “It’s not that bad, considering…” lets get into the bits of the report that we found most interesting at Wood for Trees:

• The human touch

Face-to-face fundraising is back. As you’d imagine this took a pretty big dip during the pandemic but it’s bounced back in a big way.  In 2022 it made up a whopping 84% of the regular givers who signed up, which is even higher than pre-pandemic levels. Maybe we’ve all been crying out for human interaction? Real stories and real people clearly make a real difference.

• Poor in money, but rich in generosity

As those considered affluent and comfortable are giving less, more people from less comfortable backgrounds are donating. This is a really interesting stat that needs unpacking. Why would this be? One of the theories we’ve discussed is that those who are less well-off understand first-hand the hardships of life, so campaigns in the last couple of (tough) years have really resonated with them.

• High value giving is growing

The increase in high-value giving during 2022 has been really quite remarkable. Not only is it continuing to rise, but it’s jumped up significantly from 2021 figures. We believe this is due to the sector getting better at finding and nurturing their high-value givers.

Feeling cautiously hopeful for next year

We’re still in the first half of 2023 – we don’t know what the rest of the year will bring – but we are cautiously hopeful. And not to ring our own bell too hard – reports like the State of the Sector and platforms like InsightHub are helping organisations make the best of their resources. So as time goes on they can refine and optimise their approaches to fundraising.

We’d love to know your thoughts on all this, do our findings match up with your experiences? Let us know by dropping us a message, we’re always happy to chat all things charity.

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