In their new report, ‘Managing in the new normal‘, PwC, Charity Finance Group and the Institute of Fundraising, suggest that optimism for the future is increasing among charities, as signs of economic recovery continue to strengthen.
Seven out of 10 respondents to the survey carried out for the report were optimistic about the next 12 months.
However, charities continue to draw down their reserves to keep services running. Almost a third of charities have definite plans to utilise their reserves in the upcoming year and a further 23% were considering it as an option.
Whilst the majority of respondents still report that fundraising was tougher this year and think it will get tougher next year, the numbers for both have dropped compared to previous years. A year ago 89% expected the year ahead to be tougher. But one year on, just 77% report that this has in fact turned out to be true. In this year’s survey 68% think the next 12 months will be tougher for fundraisers.
More than 450 charity fundraisers and finance professionals responded to the poll which has tracked how charities have coped since the economic crash in 2008. For this year, the report has an extra dimension as it lifts the lid on how charities have fared in the face of media scrutiny over the year and what steps they have taken to respond to the demands of transparency.
Nine out of 10 respondents felt that the charity sector had been subject to more scrutiny and media interest this year, with 1 in 5 reporting that this had impacted negatively on their fundraising.
Peter Lewis, Chief Executive, Institute of Fundraising, said: “While there are undoubted challenges facing our sector, it is encouraging that the findings of this survey start to show a more positive and optimistic outlook, as demonstrated by fewer people than last year saying that things will be tougher for the year ahead. Donor acquisition rates are also improving, as is workforce morale with respondents saying their teams were more likely to be energised or optimistic than not.”
Ian Oakley-Smith, Head of Charities Sectorat, PwC, added: “It’s encouraging to see continued evidence of charities improving their efforts to become more effective, either by more targeted fundraising or increased efforts to collaborate with others and being more strategic in their outlook.”