Donor Pulse Spring 24 - Blog

It’s spring, the days are getting lighter, potential fundraisers are looking for events that capture their sense of fun and the latest Donor Pulse research is here.

This is the fifteenth edition of our quarterly Donor Pulse research and this one takes a look at people’s changing giving habits and how they’re feeling about fundraising events. And as we’re in a general election year, there’s also a look into how people feel about political parties and their likelihood to help those in need. 

Let’s take a look at the latest insights.

The politics of giving

A quarter (26%) of the public has donated to charity in the last three months because they wanted to support a charity that had been criticised in the media or show political support for a cause. This comes at a time when just 15% of people think the government cares a lot about helping the less fortunate.  

In a general election year, more than a quarter (28%) of the public are already making their opinion known on social media about political issues, and the number of people taking action has also risen. One in six people (17%) have given when a charity’s actions were criticised in traditional or social media – a phenomenon known as ‘inverse giving’. And an identical number have donated to show solidarity with a cause – also known as political giving. 

Caption 1: Motivations for giving

This desire to support charities may stem from a lack of belief in the government’s ability to support those in need. More than half (57%) of the public think the Conservatives do not care about disadvantaged people, scoring them between 1 and 4 out of 10. Other political parties are not immune from this assessment either, 34% believe Liberal Democrats and Reform do not care about the disadvantaged and 29% say the same about Labour. 

Caption 2: Whether the public believes a political party cares about the disadvantaged or not

On the other side of the coin, nearly a third (31%) believe Labour cares a lot (8 or more out of 10) about helping the less fortunate. This drops to 24% for Reform, 21% for Liberal Democrats and 15% for the Conservatives.

Putting the fun into fundraising

Times are tough financially and you don’t have to look far to find a bad news story in the current climate. Perhaps that explains why the public is keen to find ways to enjoy themselves. Encouragingly for charities this may come in the form of fundraising. 44% of the public say they’re likely to get involved in a fundraising event this year. Split by age, 57% of under 45s are keen to take part, with 18-24 year olds leading the way at 61%. This drops to 31% for over 45s. 

When asked which words best describe their ideal charity event, the top answer given by the public was “fun” at 53%, followed by “sociable” (40%), “a well known cause” (32%) and “easy to sign up to” (28%). The clamour for fundraising events to be fun is something that tracks across all age groups, peaking at 58% for 44-54 year olds but only dropping to 49% for 18-24 at the lower end of the scale.

Caption 3: The public describing their ideal charity event

“It’s clear that as we move towards a general election this year, discourse has become quite fraught and people seem increasingly compelled to voice their opinion as a result. Many have taken to backing up their views with donations to causes they care about too.”

“Given the backdrop of a tough economic climate and political tension, it’s not surprising that the public is craving some levity. The message to charities is clear when it comes to fundraising events. People want them to be fun and sociable. Raising money for a great cause goes hand in hand with that social connection and the charities that can offer that will be the ones that thrive this year.”

Chester Mojay-Sinclare, Founder and CEO, Enthuse

The cost of giving slowly easing

Despite the recession, the number of people feeling worse off financially is going down. The gap between those feeling better and worse off is the smallest it’s been in two years. 46% of people say they feel worse off than three months ago and 16% say they feel better off in that time frame; a 30 percentage point gap. The difference had been as high as 50 points at the end of 2022. 

There are of course still challenges for people who want to donate in the current financial climate. The top concerns about the cost of living are food prices (66%) and gas and electricity prices (65%). Job security has continued its slow rise and overall now just under one in five (19%) of people are worried about this. 

For those feeling worse off, about 1 in 5 (22%) say they’ve stopped donating altogether. For many though, it’s a case of adjusting their giving habits. 27% say they’re making fewer donations, 26% are making smaller donations when they do give and 21% say they’re being more selective with who they give to.

Caption 4: The level of trust in charities and their work

The good news for charities is that trust in their work remains healthy. Three quarters (75%) of people have moderate to high trust in good causes, meaning they score trust at a 6 out of 10 or higher. Maintaining and even growing this trust will be important to charities at a time where many are being more selective in who they choose to donate to. 

Want to take a look at the full report?

Download your free copy of Donor Pulse Spring 2024 here.