Corporate Donations to Charities Drop Overall

Corporate donations to charities fell by a significant 27% in the last year while donations from the general public fell by just 4.3% in the same period, according to new research to be published tomorrow by Fundraising Ireland.

The research, which was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes, compares the levels of donations received by charities during the key Christmas appeal period in 2012 with rates from the previous year. The data is being presented at a Fundraising Ireland seminar for Ireland’s leading Charity CEOs tomorrow morning.

The reduction in corporate donors at this crucial fundraising time was most notable and worrying, said Anne Hanniffy, CEO of Fundraising Ireland.  The Christmas 2012 figures showed a decline of about 11% in the numbers of corporate donors giving to charities. This equated to a massive drop of 27% in money from the corporate sector, from €1.7 million in 2011 to €1.2 million in 2012

"we are concerned about the size of the drop in corporate donations over the past year"

General public donations held up stronger. The research shows that there were nearly 300,000 general public donors during the Christmas 2012 period, constituting a 4.3% decline in numbers overall from 2011. The decline in Christmas income, which totalled just over €9 million, was under 1%, indicating that people who continue to be able to donate are doing so generously, according to the research.

“Charities and Fundraising Ireland fully understands how tough the economic climate is for businesses.  Even taking this into account, however, we are concerned about the size of the drop in corporate donations over the past year, particularly when compared to the smaller drop in general public donations,” said Anne Hanniffy.  

“We are keen to work with businesses and corporations to explore how they can stay actively involved in the charity sector during this time of crisis.  If businesses cannot afford the large one-off annual donations they used to make, perhaps there are other things they can do to help charities like staff giving, planned giving or cause related marketing.   Corporate philanthropy and giving is critical to the lifeblood of Irish charitable work. This is why the National Giving Campaign, aimed at increasing understanding about the benefits of giving, and particularly corporate donation and philanthropy, is so important at this time.” 

The research also shows that smaller charities benefitted less from corporate donations in 2012.  However, smaller charities have traditionally tended to have relatively more individual donors than larger charities, according to Fundraising Ireland. Corporate Ireland also moved away from supporting charities with an overseas focus in 2012, according to the research.

Overall, the research shows a gradual transition in all donations from overseas to local charities. This is consistent with previous research carried out by Fundraising Ireland on what people claimed to have given to charities. It showed that donors were most likely to donate to “local” and intervention based organisations, with charities related to illness and disease, especially cancer, accounting for over one quarter of all donors.

Twenty-six out of a sample of 54 separate agencies or charities responded to the Fundraising Ireland commissioned research, representing nearly a 50% organizational response rate. Nevertheless, B&A advises that while the overall pattern of responses is consistent, caution should be exercised in relation to the analysis of the findings because of the small numbers involved.  The research was carried out between March 20 and April 12 using a mix of on-line and telephone interviews.

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