I've just seen a piece of research undertaken by nfpSynergy that looks at the impact of using different ways to describe charitable expenditure.

The study compared spending on fundraising and service provision, asking donors how impressive they found a range of descriptive options…

  1. Our charity raises £3 for every £1 it spends on fundraising.
  2. For every £1 we raise, we spend 65p on those who need our help.
  3. We raise £1 for every 33p we spend on fundraising.
  4. For every £3 our charity raises, £2 goes directly to those that need it.

Over 60% of respondents were impressed or very impressed with options 1 and 4, whereas less than 50% were impressed or very impressed with options 2 and 3.

The results would seem to suggest that people can relate more happily to whole numbers. This would mean that the traditional XX pence in the pound / dollar goes directly to those who need our help statements in reports and mailing packs may not be as effective as we'd like to think.