Charities losing support from loyal donors

This is evident from an annual survey by de Volkskrant into the income from own fundraising of the 25 largest charities. The total revenue from private donations fell by 2.6 percent to a total of 709 million euros.

‘It is more difficult for our members to retain new donors for a longer period of time. In particular, the younger generation wants to be involved differently and be connected differently with social goals, “reacts acting director Margreet Plug of the trade association Charity Netherlands. “Support for charities is therefore more volatile with one-off contributions, more focused on a concrete project and more active by doing sports or organizing crowdfunding.”

Large charities managed to escape the steady decline in the number of donating Dutch people for a long time, says professor of philanthropy René Bekkers of the VU University Amsterdam. For at least 15 years, Dutch people have been spending an increasingly smaller part of their income on charities, he says. Thanks to smart marketing, the major philanthropic institutions managed to partially mask this decline, says Bekkers. “It is precisely non-church charities such as the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding) that have succeeded in attracting donations from the Dutch church community.” But the basis of these generous givers is getting narrower, says Bekkers. That is why large charities are now seeing their income decrease.

Charities receive their money in numerous ways. They collect at the door, send giro collection forms for one-off gifts, receive legacies or receive a fixed annual contribution. A fixed membership or subscription to a charity was especially popular among the baby boom generation but is less common with the younger generation. Charities try to reverse this trend with hefty marketing campaigns or street recruitment, but nevertheless see the number of loyal members decreasing. For example, Greenpeace lost 9,000 donors, Unicef 12,000 donors and OxfamNovib 16,000 donors. Natuurmonumenten and the Cliniclowns were among the few large organizations that could attract more donors.

Charities try to partly compensate for the loss of donors by asking a higher contribution from the remaining members. For example, Amnesty International and the World Wide Fund for Nature managed to increase the contribution per regular donor.

The fact that donors are less loyal is also apparent from the biennial survey Giving in the Netherlands . The percentage of Dutch people who transfer a fixed amount to charities every year has been falling for a number of years. The number of incidental donors is actually increasing.

Despite the fall in donations with 117 million euros, KWF Kankerbestrijding remains by far the largest charity in the Netherlands. The Red Cross saw its income fall sharply, but that is mainly because the organization raised a lot of extra money in 2017 with the campaign after the hurricane in Sint Maarten.

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