Latest Research & Insights

What we are learning from these first few weeks of the Covid 19 crisis.

As people start to really try to get to terms with what’s happening in the sector and Working From Home, some very valuable lessons are being learned every day. And now the first wave of research since the crisis hit is being published and it’s great to have it. So we thought we’d share what we found most insightful.

Some good news

First up, a quick look at what commercial marketeers are finding from their consumer research (which includes our donors and supporters). The good news according to research from MCCP Dublin is that we are moving from shock to an adjustment phase and looking for the positives in the negatives. Consumers are re-evaluating what actually matters. We are using the time to connect, to learn and to unplug. We are checking our bills, focusing on essentials, deferring expenditure and showing more deliberate, conscious buying behaviour.

Impulse buying is gone and we are saving our money. We are also returning to 70s/80s hobbies. Knitting is back! MCCP’s clear advice to companies, especially the big brands, is that consumers need them to step up, be proactive and help out. They also need to move fast and that those in greatest need, need the greatest support. Companies that decide to stay in the shadows and fail to act will lose valuable brand equity.

We think this research is very helpful for corporate fundraisers to use as part of their pitch to corporate donors and prospects over the next 4-8 weeks.

A Pint of Plain Goodness

Here’s one example of a corporate stepping up. Earlier this week Guinness announced that it was creating a fund of €1.5m to support communities around the country that have been affected by Covid-19. Of this, €1.2m will go to support the thousands of bar staff who have lost their jobs, while the remaining €300,000 will go towards assisting vulnerable elderly people around the country through a partnership with the charity ALONE.

There is much work to be done

There were also three very interesting pieces of research from the not-for-profit sector (all three from the UK). About Loyalty have launched a Covid-19 tracker and found amongst other things that 30% of people say they intend to stop or reduce their donations, but older donors say they are going to stick with their current charities through Covid-19. So all is not lost, the majority of donors will continue to support you.

The Institute of Fundraising, National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Charity Finance Group ran a survey to assess the initial impact of coronavirus on the charity sector. On average, for those charities that re-forecast their income, they now expect to see a decrease in their voluntary income of 43%, and 31% of total income from the previous year. Here’s hoping those estimates don’t come to pass, as based on our ballpark estimate of voluntary income in Ireland that would result in a loss of €300-400m in a full year.

NfpSynergy ran a short omnibus survey and found some interesting insights, including that only half of the public (53%) consider charity information trustworthy – around the same as family and friends. By far the clearest thing that the public think would be helpful for charities to do is provide day to day support for at risk people (64%), followed by funding or carrying out medical research (41%) and providing volunteers at hospitals (40%). In times of crisis, the public are aware of the need for charities; this perhaps suggests that charitable giving is not likely to be first on the list of cutbacks.

There is one simple conclusion to be drawn from this research. Now, more than ever, charities need to engage with their donors in an honest, consistent and regular way.

Another useful piece of research is the 2into3 report Fundraising in a Time of Crisis: Lessons from History.

Stay Safe.
From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.



What an extraordinary week that was

Nearly all of us are now successfully working from home and things are already shaping up for what will be a really challenging period. For every organisation (including us), their strategic planning window is coming in 3-month phases and it is certainly the shortest timeframe we have ever seen in our 30 years of working in the Not-For-Profit Sector. In fact, for some people and organisations, they are having to look at just 30 days.

But it’s terrific to see the sector, like so many sections of society, upping their activity and staying focussed on those in need – your beneficiaries. Never has fundraising and advocacy been so important to keep services and supports working.  And never has the Irish public been so united in kindness and solidarity.

And, luckily for your fundraisers and advocates, never has the public been so gathered in one very reachable setting – home.

We speak to a lot of clients and stakeholders every week and in the past 7 days we were told about events and appeals being rescheduled, services having to adapt, refocus and in some cases close and many of you have started to develop Covid-focussed fundraising and advocacy appeals. Over the next 3-4 weeks, we will see a lot of frontline domestic and overseas aid organisations fundraising because of the devastating impact of Covid 19 on their beneficiaries.

The good news

On another positive note, as well as seeing organisations like yours being so active, it’s great to see the umbrella organisations such as The Wheel and CII advocating a strong voice to government to support the sector in a meaningful way. It is also inspiring to see the solidarity and advice-sharing amongst colleagues in the sector and with that in mind, we are keeping our eyes and ears open for the best advice possible to pass along. Here’s this week’s highlights:

The post will always be delivered

It is also heartening to see that our postal service is continuing as per normal. An Post are even launching this wonderful initiative to connect the nation with positive messages of support and to reinforce the key message that ‘the post will continue’. As it has done in Italy despite the incredible challenges they currently face.

Updates from Italy

Speaking of Italy, some of you will know that this agency has strong links to Italy and we are in constant contact with family and friends there, especially in Lombardy, the region most devastated by the virus. The one constant piece of advice we are being told is to take absolutely no risks – self-isolate, full stop. No ifs or buts. The virus is incredibly contagious and knows no boundaries of age or health status. So be really careful and be safe.

You should all be so proud that, like our frontline healthcare workers, you too are keeping the flag of action flying for people in greater need than ever. Thank you.

From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.