The news from last year is not good. A fall in charitable giving is to be expected in a downturn, but the "Third Sector" reported that there was nearly a 10% drop:
Poll by Investec Private Bank indicates a drop in donations of more than £500m on previous year.
The amount of money donated to charities may have dropped by £574m last year, according to new research.... Seventy-one per cent of respondents gave money to a charity last year and the average amount donated was £110.20 per person. A fifth of respondents said they had given less money to charity in 2009 than they did in 2008.All very worrying., but what can be done?
Well the first thing to do is to audit your fundraising. Make sure that you completely understand all the fundraising done by your charity and how it all fits together. Examine the list carefully - is the charity working with a layered approach to donor (private, corporate, government, grant-making bodies etc) and does each layer support the others? Is your charity talking to all the right people? Is your charity gathering donations in kind (as appropriate to your charitable purposes) and are these measured and thanked in the same way that cash donations are (you do, of course, thank every donor, no matter how small their donation, don't you).
It is possible that your overall fundraising strategy was established some time ago - or that there is not so much a strategy as much as different kinds of fundraising set up at different times. Beware of a new fundraising push which takes donations from your other fundraising efforts - make sure that new donors really are new.
None of this is difficult - but it can be time-consuming, and time is often as rare for smaller charities as funding. It is, however, well worth the effort. A few hours or days now will reap rewards later this year.
You could, of course, as for help from a consultancy which understands small charities and their need for funds...