PwC report: Majority of charities are taking action to improve fundraising practice, new report finds

Published at 15:12 PM on 10 June 2016

  • 1 in 3 charities said maintaining public trust and confidence is the most important issue facing the sector
  • At least 73% of the respondents reported improving their fundraising practice over the past year
  • 83% of respondents saw press and public scrutiny as the biggest challenge facing the sector

New research published today shows that charities across the UK are improving their fundraising practices because of concerns about public trust in the sector.

The latest Managing in the New Normal report from PwC, the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group shows that 73% of over 300 charities surveyed have improved their practice in the past year while 79% are planning to explore new fundraising options.

In contrast to previous years, where concerns about charitable giving and financial sustainability dominated, 83% of charities said that public trust around fundraising practices was the biggest challenge for the sector as it looks to the public for support. This follows a year of controversy in the sector, including the widely reported collapse of Kids Company.

Charities have already started to respond to these public concerns in the way they raise money. Of these, 40% of charities surveyed said that they were reviewing consent statements on donation forms, 39% were improving internal compliance, 38% improving ways that supporters can manage their communication preferences and 37% are intending to increase training for fundraisers. A third of respondents said they had increased the level of trustee involvement in fundraising oversight and about 1 in 4 charities were reviewing their relationships with third parties.

The main motivations behind the changes was the desire to follow best practice (46%) followed by the desire to meet ‘expectations from donors’ (19%).

Importantly, the research also showed that charities planned to continue investing in fundraising and that the public still support the charities they donate to. Nearly 80% of charities said that they were exploring new fundraising options, and a similar number said that they planned to do more fundraising in the future.  The number of donors choosing to stop supporting charities was also down, suggesting that existing donors are sticking with the causes they support.  

Other key findings include:

  • 65% of respondents said that they had experienced an increase in demand for their services this year.
  • One in four respondents (25%) said that they do not have the resources to meet these demand.
  • 85% of respondents said that they did not currently have the skills or capacity to access or use social investment.
  • 54% said that they could not increase their levels of financial reserves, even if they wanted to do so.
  • Morale in the charity sector has fallen slightly with 58% (compared with 61% in 2015) saying that their staff were energised or optimistic.
  • Respondents are less optimistic about the future of their organisation compared to last year, with 64% currently optimistic, compared to 74% in 2015.

In response to the report’s findings, Ian Oakley Smith, Director, PwC said:  

“The events of 2015 challenged the public’s trust and confidence in the charity sector.  However, this survey confirms that many charities are looking to address this challenge and are now working harder to reassure the public that they can continue trust them.

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising said:

“This report shows us that the majority of charities have taken action to respond to public concerns about fundraising practices, and that the fundraising community is committed to achieving the highest standards.  The report also shows that the public are continuing to in their generosity to the causes they care about, contributing to make the world a better place both here and abroad.”

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group said:

“Charities are facing a number of challenges both financial and reputational, but this survey is encouraging as it shows charities taking seriously the need to meet these challenges.  We need to give charities the time and space to adapt and have confidence in charities ability to grapple with them.”


Notes for editors:

About Managing in the New Normal

Each year an on-line survey of IoF and CFG members forms the basis of findings. This year the survey was administered between December 2014 and January 2015 and returned a total of over 300 responses. To provide further insight in some cases responses have been cross-tabulated according to charity size.



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