European Charities ‘Optimistic’ for 2010

This year’s pan-European SONI survey, conducted by Blackbaud in association with the Resource Alliance, shows that charities are becoming more optimistic about the future. Charities in France are the most optimistic with 80 per cent expecting an increase in income, while only 40 per cent of British and German charities felt optimistic about the future.

On the whole, major giving is the top driver of fundraising income except in the Netherlands where direct mail is still top dog. Interestingly a much higher proportion of charities in the Netherlands (one in four) use volunteers to approach the majority of major donors.

Investment income has fallen everywhere with 61 per cent of British charities reporting a drop and only 10 per cent seeing an increase.

The results of this year’s SONI survey are drawn from almost 650 completed survey entries from fundraising organisations in the UK, Germany, Holland, France and Italy. The results provide an overview to help not for profits benchmark their operations across five key areas:

  1. General operations (staffing levels, budgets, service delivery requirements an organisational challenges);
  2. Fundraising (top methods in terms of income and investment, increase or decrease for each fundraising method against the previous year and predictions for the new 12 months, and methods most commonly used to communicate with donors);
  3. Technology and internet usage (use of new media techniques and social networking, and database requirements);
  4. Accountability and stewardship (looking at transparency of expenditure) and
  5. Demographics

Some of the other findings from the survey show that more than 40 per cent of charities in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands do not yet raise funds from email. Interestingly in France charities are not generally investing in their websites and seven per cent do not have an online strategy or see it as a major income driver.

Charities in France and Italy are investing more heavily in fundraising staff and outsourcing, but those in Germany expect to see a decrease in investment in direct mail and telemarketing.

Two thirds of UK charities report no income through telemarketing, one third state no legacy income and 30 per cent no committed giving.

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