New research indicates 6 percent are now giving less

November 14 2008 - Mark Phillips

We have another piece of data to add to the ever-growing library on attitudes to giving in the current economic climate. I have already blogged on Bluefrog’s qualitative research and the September RNLI study

As regular readers wil no doubt remember, ongoing Bluefrog qualitative research (amongst mid-value donors) is indicating that people intend to carry on supporting the charities they currently give to, but are reluctant to take on board new ones.

The RNLI research indicated that 21% of people would be slightly less likely to give and 11% would be much less likely to give.

We now have access to research undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of  St. Mungo’s in the first week of November, 2008. It presents a rather depressed attitude amongst consumers with over half of all those surveyed being very or fairly concerned about their financial situation and 17% seeing their money worries impacting negatively on their relationships with families and friends.

One of the questions asks what areas of expenditure have been reduced and are likely to be reduced over the next twelve months.

Giving to charity comes way down this list. Only 6% of respondents say they have cut giving with 5% expecting to be less generous in the next year (that’s a combined total of 9%). The research reports that people are more likely to spend less on the usual suspects of luxuries, take away meals, restaurants, haircuts and holidays. But interestingly, this study shows that even household food and heating are more likely to be in the firing line than charities.

St Mungo's research 2

It would be fascinating to see how this attitude pans across age and social classifications, but when research like this is shared free of charge, you have to take what you are given.

The figures do seem very positive (was getting respondents to read out their answers the best technique to use?), but when I worked at the YMCA in the days of Black Monday and Black Wednesday, we found that people maintained and often increased their giving in a very tough time. To my mind, giving isn’t a luxury. We give to charity for deep emotional reasons and perhaps as fundraisers we should not be so frightened about what lies ahead. If we treat our donors in a way that engages
and empowers them – on their terms – they won’t let us down.

Bluefrog is also undertaking a quantitative study that focuses directly on the difference in attitudes to giving to current and new charities which will be published next week through this blog and through the main Bluefrog site.