The financial crisis is impacting nonprofits’ approach to service delivery and fundraising across Europe, according to a new report released today by the European Fundraising Association and Salesforce.org.
The 2022 Nonprofit Pulse – Tracking Change in Europe report saw EFA and Salesforce.org survey 658 nonprofit representatives from 30 nations across Europe. Now in its third year, the report’s results show the sector faced continued crisis conditions in 2022 with the economic downturn increasing service demand and further stretching resources.
In response, nonprofits are transforming fundraising and service delivery as they do their utmost to meet rising need.
Key report findings:
- Nonprofits faced continued crisis conditions in 2022 with the economic downturn increasing service demand and further stretching resources, with almost a half of respondents (48%) saying they were struggling to manage workload.
- Raising sufficient funds continued to be a major challenge (47%), with 32% seeing individual giving decrease across 2022.
- In response, nonprofits diversified channels (31% of respondents) and invested more in marketing and communications while 35% said they increased their focus on supporter care.
- Demonstrating resilience, nonprofits continued to grow their use of digital (38%) and show agility and flexibility in adapting to meet the needs of their service users.
- Supporting staff and their wellbeing was brought into focus, with 1 in 3 respondents stating this as a key challenge.
- The survey revealed clear regional differences, with UK and Ireland bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis.
Findings in detail
Fundraising income is down while demand is up for many nonprofits in Europe. More than a third (37%) of nonprofits saw demand for their services increase in 2022, and 28% said that donations decreased. This is having an impact on their financial wellbeing, with 22% tapping into organisational reserves.
However, although a third (36%) were concerned for their future, only 10% said they were cutting back on services. 1 in 7 (15%) said they were increasing their service delivery to meet the needs of their service users.
Charlotte Rydh, president of the European Fundraising Association (EFA) and secretary general of Giva Sverige in Sweden, says:
“2022 was yet another incredibly tough year for the sector, and this survey indicates that the majority of nonprofits have had to adjust their approach and find new methods of raising urgent funds to support the services that are so necessary and now so urgently needed.
“Once again, even in the face of challenges, this means nonprofits are working hard to innovate, find new ways to fundraise, improve supporter engagement, support their workforces and deliver frontline services.”
Transforming service delivery and fundraising
The acceleration of digital adoption that began with the pandemic has continued, with nonprofits ramping up their use of digital to help them raise funds, engage with supporters and deliver services.
Nonprofits are also focusing on supporter retention (35%), and on creating engaging communications that inspire regular giving (31%) and long-term loyal support. Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) said their organisations intend to invest more in fundraising, marketing and communications in 2023. Organisations are also looking to the future to build security and resilience, with 17% increasing their focus on legacy fundraising.
Looking at the use of digital technology for delivery and engagement, the most noticeable areas of growth in 2022 were events and social media.
Nearly half of nonprofits (46%) operated a hybrid model for events in 2022. 19% said they believe online events attract more people, with 14% saying they raise more money. A quarter said that social media was more successful than the previous year for acquiring supporters.
However, a third of respondents said they need more training to make full use of digital delivery, and 5% said their beneficiaries want digital communications but that their organisation is not equipped to provide this.
The crisis is also having an impact on workload for many nonprofits. 48% said managing this was their biggest issue, followed by supporting staff and their wellbeing (31%). 28% also said they struggled to recruit for fundraising positions last year, while staff retention was problematic for a quarter (26%).
A quarter said that staff have been directly affected by the cost of living crisis. In response, 2 in 5 respondents said their organisation had increased focus and investment on staff wellbeing. And a small percentage (12%) said they are looking to recruit more fundraising staff.
Mike Wolff, Chief Revenue Officer – Salesforce.org, adds:
“This past year, the global nonprofit community has continued to face an unprecedented set of complex, and compounding, challenges. We are proud to provide this global community of changemakers the technology they need to rise to these challenges, so they can continue to drive tangible social impact.”
The full 2022 Nonprofit Pulse report can be downloaded here.