Charities’ online revenue up a third amid pandemic, research finds

Online revenue of UK charities increased by 35% during the Covid-19 pandemic, latest research into the sector’s finances have shown.

The M+R Benchmarks Study looked at data over 2019 and 2020 in the UK and US.

This found that online growth in the UK is faster than in the US, which saw a 30% increase.

More than 50 UK charities were involved included Shelter, Child Poverty Action Group, British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK and the RNLI.

Charity sectors to see the biggest increase in online growth were those tackling hunger and poverty, where growth was 88%.

“This is truly extraordinary growth, which reflects the generosity and compassion of millions of individual supporters. People saw their communities, their neighbours, the whole wide world suffering under unbearable conditions — and they found ways to help,” the study found.

But the growth in online revenue was “driven by more people giving rather than people giving more”, according to the study.

In the UK one off donations increased by 65%, while monthly gifts increased by 22%, however the average value of one off donations fell from £55 to £49 between 2019 and 2020.

UK charities received 27% more gifts in 2020 than they did in 2019.

Attention needs to be paid in the charity sector to turning the “generosity of cash donors into long-term growth”, says the report.

“That should be a priority for fundraising programmes of any type at any time — but will be especially important for those nonprofits that welcome an unusually large number of new cash donors over the past year,” it adds.

Social media

Elsewhere, the report found that for every 1,000 email addresses, UK charities had an average of 1,450 Facebook fans, 864 Twitter followers and 346 Instagram followers.

It found that an organic post on Facebook by a charity reached only 7% of their followers.

However, Facebook is proving more successful in targeting people who are not already followers, the report found, with 30% of the audience who did see a post not already fans of the charity.

The study has been carried out by marketing and fundraising agencies M+R and Rally.

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