Thursday, 10 November 2011

How is the recession impacting Christian giving?

The majority of evangelical donors (93%) answered our question about the impact of the recession on their charitable giving. The good news for churches and charities is that more than half of those who responded (62%) said that the recession had not impacted their giving while 38% said that their giving had been impacted. (The survey was carried out in Autumn part of 2009)

Furthermore, when asked whether they were donating the same amounts as they did six months prior to the survey the vast majority of evangelical donors (80%) said ‘yes,’ 9% said they were donating less than they did six months ago and 11% of donors did not answer this question.

Unfortunately, the opposite is happening in that charities and churches are tightening their belts and shying away from investing in their fundraising or stewardship programmes. Christian charities keep cutting their marketing budgets, or making fundraising staff redundant and some have even stopped their new donor acquisition activities.

If this trend continues, bearing in mind that 53% of current donors are either not likely to respond to new giving opportunities or are undecided, then charities who will grow their income are ones who are investing wisely in new donor acquisition campaigns amidst the recession.

Here are some more research insights that you might find useful:

Empty nesters are more likely to keep giving in recession
Evangelical donors without dependents at home are more likely to continue giving in recession compared to donors with dependents at home. 24% of donors with dependents stopped giving compared to 15% of donors without dependents.

Wealthy donors will continue to give
As expected, recession is having a stronger impact on the giving of donors from low household incomes. One in four donors from households making less than £10,000 stated that their giving has been impacted by recession, this figure fell to 22% for donors with household incomes of £20,000 - £30,000 and to 13% for donors from households making £50,000 or more annually.
Regular giving is safe amidst financial turmoil
The presence of dependents at home is not likely to be a key factor in a donor’s decision to stop giving regularly to a charity. We noted that 5% of donors with dependents at home and 6% of donors without dependents at home had stopped giving regularly to one or more charities as a result of the recession.

This data does not contradict the point we made earlier but can be taken to indicate that the majority of donors with dependents at home whose giving has been impacted by recession have probably stopped making one-off gifts. In other words, once donors decide to give regularly to a charity they are likely to follow through with their commitment despite the recession.
Men are steady givers
Men are more likely to continue giving in recession compared to women. Nearly half of women donors (47%) stated that their giving had been impacted by recession compare to 33% of male donors.

Older donors are most likely to be affected by recession
The economic recession is having a stronger impact on the charitable giving of older donors. Half of evangelical donors in the 75+ age group and 41% of donors in the 65-74 age group stated that their giving impacted by the recession. This figure fell to 35% for donors in the 54-65 age group and 30% for donors in the 45-54% age group.

Donors in employment still likely to give
Evangelical donors who are still working are more likely to continue to support their favourite charities through recession compared to donors who are retired or not working. 69% of donors currently working stated that their giving has not been impacted by recession compared to 58% of donors who are not working.

So, how focused are you on recruiting new donors from the empty nesters group? Have you got any plans to grow your major donor giving? How will you target men in a focused way to keep them connected to your cause? What about payroll giving schemes to encourage those in employment to support your charity?

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