One day into his new job as charity enforcer and Lord Michael Grade – the man once responsible for scrapping Dr Who from the BBC – has been warned that the fundraising reforms he has also backed are set to cost the industry over £2bn in lost income by 2020.
Research by the think tank Rogare, part of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, says that fundraisers expected a mean fall of 14% in fundraised income in their financial years beginning in 2016, and a fall of 17% by 2020.
Based on a survey of more than 500 fundraisers, the report estimates that the changes could reduce fundraising income by about 20% within five years, equivalent to £2bn, based on current donation levels.
The report, from an analysis carried out by Professor Adrian Sargeant, states: “Longer-term projections are even more troubling as the effect of the changes will compound over time as fewer donors are recruited, the quality of service they receive falls and levels of attrition begin to rise.”
The survey also reveals that more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) were opposed to the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service; of those 44% said the Institute of Fundraising should be mandated to oppose it, while 8% said the sector should refuse to co-operate with the FPS entirely. Sargeant said: “It’s clear there is some disquiet in the fundraising community about FPS and what the profession’s response to it should be.”
Even more (82%) believe that adopting an opt-in system for fundraising would have a “significant” or “very significant” negative impact on their marketing activities.
There was a greater split of opinion when it comes to the need for a new regulator, with 46% for and 42% against.
The findings will make for an interesting charity summit, convened at short notice by the author of the reforms, NCVO chief Sir Stuart Etherington.
Sargent added: “Fundraisers now have access to our findings and it will be up to them, having told us what they feel and think, whether they choose to act on some of those thoughts and feelings.”
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