Managing in the 'new normal' - The latest instalment in our managing in a downturn series

Download: Managing in the 'new normal' - Adapting to uncertainty

Charities are eagerly looking to find sustainable solutions to help respond and adapt to the inexorable turbulence and challenges of the economic environment. In the last report a number of sector bodies were challenging the Government’s cap on charity tax relief. Since then, the charity sector has seen a package of new austerity measures, Gift Aid developments and the introduction of pensions auto-enrolment, to name but a few changes. Add the UK’s AAA credit rating downgrade and the double (potential triple) dip recession to the mix and it seems the economic uncertainty is set to continue into the future.

Now into its sixth year, the results of the Managing in a Downturn surveys, produced in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group (CFG) and charity sector continue to provide valuable insights into how charities are responding and adapting to this economic reality. The results of this year’s survey indicate that charities and fundraisers continue to face difficulties: the fundraising environment remains tough and many expect it to get even tougher in the coming twelve months; the squeeze of falling statutory funding and increased demand for services that were highlighted from last year’s report looks set to hold.

Having collated the opinions and views of nearly 500 senior fundraising and finance professionals in the charity sector, overall, it is encouraging to see the willingness and ability of charities and their employees to remain flexible, resilient and – most importantly – optimistic, in adapting to uncertainty and change.

Key findings:

  • 93% of fundraisers reported that the climate has got tougher over the last twelve months, 89% predicting the coming year will be even tougher
  • 58% of charities reported Government measures had a negative impact on levels of funding
  • 50% had taken steps to reduce wages and salary costs
  • 85% were exploring new fundraising options
  • 21% had merged or were considering merging with another charity
  • 63% are considering or planning to draw on reserves
  • Year-on-year increases in demand for services have continued, with 67% of respondents reporting an increase during 2012 and 72% expecting a higher demand for services in 2013
  • Donor attrition has improved since last year. 14% fewer charities reported an increase in attrition
  • 55% had increased trading or social enterprise activity since the start of the downturn

Contact us

Liz Hazell

Head of Charities

Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 1235

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