As someone whose entire working life is focused on looking at charities and impact—how they plan it, manage it, communicate it, learn about it—I was a more than averagely interested reader of NPC’s latest research into public perceptions of charities. Some of my colleagues might say I’m obsessed—but I’d say ‘appropriately focused’ given the importance of the subject.
So what does the research tell us?
First, there’s a pretty even split between those who are interested in impact and those who aren’t.
OK, I’d prefer it to be 90:10, but half and half isn’t a huge surprise. We know from previous research into the views, motivations and behaviours of donors that 63% pay close attention to what their donation will achieve.
Interestingly, in Mind the gap those who pay attention to impact are less likely to be concerned about some of the other things we looked into—how much charities spend on running costs and CEO salaries. They’re also more likely to think that charities should be campaigning more, and fundraising more.
In other words, these are the kind of people that many of the charity fundraisers I know would like to attract. They want the freedom to do what they need to do to create impact, without feeling tied down by limitations on how they should operate.
For me, this is a tremendously heartening finding.
So what does it mean for charity chief execs and fundraisers? It suggests that those charities that are able to lead the pack, and be as clear as possible about what they’re trying to achieve and how well they’re making progress, will do better at attracting the kind of donors who will then enable them to do even better.
It’s a kind of virtuous circle that should have everyone working to help charities achieve greater impact rejoicing. If you effectively measure and communicate your impact, you can attract better funding, which will help you to deliver greater impact.
Maybe it’s time that impact-focused fundraising really takes off?
Follow the launch event on our Storify page and let us know what you think!