By Andrew Holt
Wealthy donors reveal that evidence about the difference a charity makes and a personal connection to a cause are the biggest influences when it comes to giving to charity.
A survey by the charity Pilotlight found that while over 70% of philanthropists and city executives said a personal link to a charity was behind their decision to donate, nearly 60% said information on the impact of the charity’s work was a key factor.
The survey of over 160 business leaders and philanthropists across England and Scotland revealed that 3 in 10 people have been motivated to give because of the funding crisis facing charities, although just over a quarter (27%) said fundraising campaigns influenced their decision.
This comes at a time when recent reports from the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have highlighted the fall in donations with £1.7 billion less being given in 2011/12 (donations fell to £9.3bn).
Pilotlight, which has been working for over ten years to bring together senior business leaders with small charities to make both more effective, believes its poll reinforces the need for charities to measure their impact and be more business-like.
Pilotlight’s chief executive, Fiona Halton, said: "Clearly donors now want more evidence of the impact a charity is having on the communities they serve.
"It’s also important they are told how their donation contributes to the charity and makes an even bigger difference. With donations falling, charities need to be actively measuring their impact and talking about it, if they want to attract donations of both time and money."
As the government looks to increase levels of volunteering Pilotlight found that while 90% of business executives engaged with a charity like Pilotlight to ‘give something back’, 60% also joined for their own professional learning and development.
Volunteering with charities through Pilotlight also led to nearly 40% of people increasing the amount they gave to a charity and over 20% increased the amount of time they spent volunteering.
Managing director of Schuh and joint founder of the Schuh Trust, Colin Temple, added: "It’s very easy to write a cheque and give to a big charity but I think you need to do your homework when it comes to giving and really find out where you will have an enduring impact.
"At the trust we look for small charities that may be struggling to get funding but we know their project will make a real difference."
Dr Beth Breeze, director of the Philanthropy Centre at the University of Kent, added: "This research usefully emphasises the key drivers of charitable giving.
"People respond subjectively to the issues that touch their lives, and are motivated to help when a cause speaks to their personal passions and experiences."
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