Increasing regular charity contributions is now a well practiced art or even a science. I am currently considering some requests from various charities that have demonstrated an inflationary increase. The inflation that concerns me covers more than the economic version relating to increased prices but covers inflating by making something bigger (like a balloon about to burst?) I will leave legacy marketing and recruitment drives for future posts.
In a 2017 mail shot from the Red Cross for Easter Donations they specifically requested £87, £168, or £344 donations. Strange and not insignificant sums, perhaps they were originally priced in Euros. On the response slip there was space for a different amount ‘whatever you feel able to give’ but by then I was disengaged. Looking at some of their current web campaigns £30, £50 and £100 are the default requests for example UK Solidarity, Yemen Crisis, The Disaster Fund and many others. The Syrian Fund starts by requesting the lower sum of £10.
Historically standing orders and direct debits were popular ways of attracting donations to charities and £2 was a very common and largely pain less starting point. This has morphed into a base £5 and added to that there are the regular ‘extra requests’.
Yesterday the RSPB mailed members including my self with a request to give £10, £25 or £50 to help ‘Coasts in Crisis’. I admit to a preference for helping the Marine Conservation Society but have asked the RSPB if the Coasts in Crisis funds will be ring fenced specifically to the needs identified in the request. So far I have received no reply and I fear the donations will end up within general income.( A speedy reply from RSPB advised me that Coast Crisis funds will indeed be ring fenced and kept separate to be used just for the nominated purpose. A big star for that reply.)
We are all victims of our own prejudices as I showed above preferring MCS to RSPB . In that vein I do not begrudge the Big Issue where street vendors buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50 even though I remember it’s inception in 1991 when it cost far less and twice as many people supported the cause.
With a new Chairman at the National Trust and a traumatic year behind them you may have expected NT to batten down the hatches. Not a bit of it, they have increased the membership fees for 2018 by 6.5% (the current RPI is 1.1% and consumer price index 0.3% ONS). This is despite squirreling away shares and investments of over £1,237,000,000 or one and a quarter billion pounds. Each year it costs over a million pound just to look after that many equities! The Trust seems arrogant, complacent, well out of touch and in danger of loosing public trust.
Donation Inflation Concerns
- Even in these few examples there seems to be a concerted attempt to ‘up the ante’ when it comes to generating more income. Because they can doesen’t mean they should!
- Donors may rightly feel they are being fleeced by charity staff seeking expansion without just cause. Bigger isn’t always beautiful.