News & Insight
21st October 2022
Summer fundraising trends 2022
Summer fundraising trends in 2022 are a reflection of how the world is changing. We are seeing this with our clients. We are now in a post pandemic recovery period where charities are navigating a lot of change – having to work through it and deliver. Much of the work that was on hold is now in full swing. We are seeing a huge increase in activity, and a desire and willingness to get back on track.
Post-pandemic there are clear shifts in priorities, with more and more focus being placed on local communities. Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis is affecting the retention of fundraising staff. Whilst we are seeing significant pay increases in the private sector, this is not the case, overall, in the third sector. Yet by far the biggest challenge we are currently facing is the future of working. We are living this in real time, across sectors. Most people are enjoying being back in the office combined with flexibility with home working which has meant we are reworking the hybrid model.
A shift in priorities
Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen communities taking over the ownership of care on their street, looking after neighbours. A renewed sense of community has changed how people are giving – prompting more of an interest in giving locally, to our immediate areas.
More than ever, philanthropy is about causes we feel personally connected to. The cost of living crisis has meant people are making difficult decisions about what they can and can’t support. This change in priorities presents an opportunity for charities to harness their sense of placemaking. We are, increasingly, looking to relate to outside our own organisations and contemplate our roles in the wider community.
These shifts in priorities are very much reflected in funding bodies. Funding applications are more interested in how communities are involved in shaping the work of charities. Impact reporting is absolutely key now; charities need to be accountable.
At-home versus office working
Charities in the health sector are having to reconsider their hybrid working model. These charities need to balance the desire and benefits of flexible working with the reality that most colleagues on the frontline don’t have that option.
Many organisations are opting to close their central offices altogether, and it seems most are choosing to continue with a hybrid working model. What used to be at the centre of our cities – shops and offices – are moving out, which is leading some city centres to become increasingly empty. At the same time, this also presents an exciting opportunity for artists, creatives and service-based companies to move into this space.
Another benefit we are seeing to the hybrid working model is the redistribution of staff. Not only is this new flexible way of working helping to move money outside of London, but also a distributed workforce means a greater range in skillsets. Understanding the economics of local communities is key – a fundraiser in the North may require different knowledge to someone in the South. The former might be more likely to have statutory funding in their toolkit versus major donor experience, for example.
Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund are widening participation, not just by looking at the distribution of funding but also through encouraging young talent, and are pushing for new ways of bringing communities together.
Across the sector we are recognising the value of partnerships. It’s important to think about collaborative partnerships in order to maximise value and create hubs for collective thinking. Major grant recipients should be working with smaller museums, collections, schools, outside their area of impact. The National Gallery, for example, is looking at how it will take collections on the road across the North of England through effective partnerships across the UK.
Retention of fundraisers
Employers are struggling to recruit fundraisers. Philanthropy Company has had an unprecedented level of enquiries in every area, whether that’s trust and foundation fundraisers or interim support. Indeed we’ve witnessed a seismic shift in all of our working patterns; we are having to become more adaptive and flexible. An advantage to this flexibility is that the recruitment pool widens significantly and we can overcome challenges of expertise distribution and skill distribution. In other charities, the big issue is the retention and development of the fundraising staff they already have within their team. The sector needs to give fundraisers reasons to stay during a cost of living crisis.
Trends in types of fundraising
In enquiries and conversations with clients and potential clients it is encouraging to see capital projects back on table, especially in culture and heritage. We are seeing more charities feeling confident to make plans for the future, and we have received a flurry of enquiries about feasibility studies.
Climate organisations appear to be doing well with sponsorships, corporate relationships and events propositions. People are engaged because they believe in the common purpose; the sustainability agenda is gaining momentum, particularly, with C-suite executives. However, some smaller organisations are struggling to access space at the big climate conference events that larger organisations can. Overall, mid size climate charities are able to do well and find a role in that ecosystem of the UN, World Economic Forum, and other business type organisations.
In the science space, due to the funding structure, charities need to balance shadowing what the government wants and what the government is actually funding. The areas of interest are likely to be around a digital economy, defence and security, and health. Brexit has had a major impact on funding available in this area with university teams losing millions in funds that were previously available from EU funds.
We are also seeing a big increase in major donors and at galas we are seeing a different audience to what is traditional – a much more international audience based in London.
Absence of government incentivised giving
Compared to the US and some other countries, there hasn’t been a significant governmental incentivisation of giving philanthropically. The absence is perhaps a symptom of the fact that government capacity has been overwhelmed, devoted to other issues such as Brexit and the pandemic. Whilst there is lots of noise about the importance of government incentivised giving there is a definite gap in this space.
The pandemic and cost of living crisis have generated lots of new challenges for fundraising. Yet from those challenges we are seeing new opportunities to really look at how we work and the communities we work with.
If you’d like support managing some of these summer fundraising trends, we’d love to help. You can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org