‘For every 100 donors gained, 100 are lost,’ report warns

Hospice charities are facing “significant challenges in the coming years” as they tackle a drop in fundraising and rising costs amid the cost-of-living crisis, a report is warning.

The 2023 Hospice Health Report has been commissioned by umbrella body Hospice UK and is based on almost 6.6m donations to 38 hospices.

It found falls in average gift values and income from major and corporate donors as well as additional bills in 2023 of more than £100m for hospices.

Hospices were among high energy use charities named by the NCVO as in need of extra support to tackle rising bills. The call was made in response to a government announcement this month that its energy discount scheme is to be scaled back from April.

“Hospices have weathered the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the hospice health report shows there are more challenges ahead, warned Bernard McCabe, director of Dreamscape Solutions, which carried out the research.

“Many hospices are struggling with donor attrition - for every 100 donors gained, 100 are lost," he said.

"With the cost-of-living crisis expected to keep affecting how much communities can give to hospices, it's vital that hospice fundraising teams tackle donor retention by developing knowledge, skills, and systems to consistently deliver stewardship experiences that meet the expectations of modern consumers.”

The report details that while new and repeat donor retention levels increased last year, they are down over the last five years.

“If, as expected, donor acquisition rates suffer due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, retaining donors through improved donor stewardship experiences will become even more critical,” states the report.

Since 2017 the average gift value has fallen by a fifth and income from new donors is down by 9%.

Hospice UK director of income generations and grant Catherine Bosworth added: “Hospice UK estimates that hospices are likely to face additional costs in 2023 of more than £100 million.

“At the same time, our aging population means demand on hospices will continue to increase, but pressure on household incomes and the public purse means hospice fundraising teams will need to find new ways to generate income and meet the demand for their services.”

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