Thursday, October 4, 2012

Predictions for Irish Fundraising in 2013

2013 is going to be great. Here are some of the changes I think we're going to see:

Mobile Donations Become More Accessible
Mobile donations are not growing in Ireland because they are expensive to set up and only 40%-60% is getting to the charity. There are other problems, such as donor data not being passed on to the charities (which could then be used to greatly increase return).

We've tried to change this by reducing the upfront costs to charities and by eliminating monthly fees, but the real problem is still the amount the mobile providers are taking. This will be reduced massively in 2013 and more and more charities will begin to accept SMS donations. It will be slow, but 2013 will pave the way to huge growth in 2014.

Charity Review Websites
Websites which allow the public to review charities in the style of TripAdvisor and Yelp will begin to appear internationally, with someone launching an Irish one in 2013. Who launches the first one will make a huge difference to how this affects Irish charities.

If it is launched by a random member of the public it will be terrible, with a focus on what percentage of donations goes on 'admin'. (Read this blog post for why that's useless). Here's another reason why they will suck:

If it is launched by an individual or organisation within the sector it will give useful information on where they get their income, what results they deliver, if they are signed up to Governance Codes and Codes of Practice, as well as public reviews. If you want to have a chat about how we can set this up then please e-mail me.

Changes in Tax Relief Rules
The proposed changes in tax relief will come in to effect for donors giving more than €250 in the calendar year. This won't have any impact on relief claimed next year as none of the pre-2012 donations will be eligible.

However, the changes will have a negative impact on charity income. Because self-assessed donors will no longer be able to claim back tax relief themselves it means the amount they donate will decrease. This should be more than compensated for in 2014 and beyond (as we begin to claim the relief) but I'm afraid in 2013 it means a decline in income.

Competiveness of On-Line Fundraising Sites Benefits Everyone
The introduction of our public fundraising website changed on-line donations in Ireland.

Firstly, it removed all financial barriers for charities to begin taking donations on-line. With no registration or annual fee it meant that the smallest charities could now accept credit card donations with no investment, and their supporters could now fundraise for them on-line.

Secondly, it increased competitiveness. More sites followed the model and now charities and fundraisers have a choice of which on-line giving site they use. It means everyone had to decrease their prices and up their game, benefiting both the public and the charities. and the other sites will roll out more and more features while continuing to decrease cost in an effort to gain market share.

Growth of Telephone Fundraising
The Wheel recently reported only 2% of charities fundraise in Ireland using Telephone. This is embarrassingly low, especially since telephone campaigns provide some of the best returns. This has begun to change in the second half of this year and telephone fundraising will continue to grow faster than other forms in 2013, including cold-calling.

Negative Media Coverage
Fundraising/chugging/salaries will receive huge negative, misinformed, one-sided media coverage in February, June and November.

Slow Regulation Adoption
Let's face it - there's going to be very little implementation of the Charities Act 2009. In 2013 a number of TDs will excalim that "There is no regulation!" and they will mistakenly blame the charities. However, hopefully, we'll see the IFFDR see a bit more action and the sector will make a concerted effort to try and build upon this. Paid staff actually implementing it is a good bit away...maybe 2014 or even 2015?

What else do you think we're going to see in 2013?


  1. February, June and November =)

  2. Lots of interesting observations and see plenty of the negative criticism on chugging already.
    Just wondering do you think 2013 will be the year when charities will really utilise their social media presences. Many have started to get to grip using them as communications and advocacy tools. Will 2013 see them trying to leverage them financially.

    1. Thanks for the comment Eoin.

      To be honest I don't see many charities investing much in social media 2013 as it is hard to justify the spend when budgets are already decreasing. Social media has not yet shown the immediate financial returns many charities need to see before spending.

      I think larger organisations will begin to make it work for them and then in 2014 we'll see smaller charities outsourcing more small social media campaigns and the REALLY big charities looking at getting dedicated social media staff.

      But in the meantime I think social media will remain an add-on to someone else's job or something many staff do simply because they enjoy it.