Delighted that the Radio Devon discussion was more balanced than much media reporting of the effect of the recession on giving. The host, Pippa Quelch, gave fair airtime to both the doom ‘n’ gloom charities and the more measured approach that says, let’s not panic but keep fundraising hard and creatively. I argued strongly that we shouldn’t under-estimate donors’ commitment to their favoured causes, and that it’s a mistake to assume they’ll drop their donations before making other adjustments to their household spending.
The representative from the RSPCA was generous in her concern for the less well-known animal charities, who lack the brand recognition that her charity enjoys and – she felt -would suffer even more in a recession. But in my research I speak to many donors who prefer the smaller, local causes where they know the people involved and can see for themselves what good they’re doing. Some make a conscious decision to boycott the big brands because they assume they are particularly wasteful in terms of overheads or simply don’t need their money. So perhaps increasing goodwill towards local charitable organisations can help them keep afloat during these difficult times.