The Blackbaud Institute Index – UK

As we look back at this last quarter, successful organisations have kept up with their adaptations, using savvy ways to tap into the generosity of their supporters during these pandemic-affected times. And as we move forward into the last few months of 2021, it is those organisations who are well poised and ready to meet the moment of closing out this unique year.

To help you understand how the current landscape affects charitable giving, the Blackbaud Institute Index offers quarterly insights, as well as the context you need to leverage the data as a benchmark against your own efforts.

Data can help crystallize your understanding and offer insights on what the recent several months illuminate. We hope you can use this Index to gain confidence in your own planning. These insights should help recalibrate and reinvigorate you in fulfilling your mission over the next few months and beyond.

Special Section: Spotlight on JustGiving from Blackbaud

To ensure no great cause goes unfunded, Just Giving from Blackbaud has also helped people in almost every country raise over $5 billion since its inception in 2000 for good causes through online fundraising and crowdfunding. Though COVID-19 impacted charity participation events, JustGiving from Blackbaud continues to track strong giving rates throughout the year due to increased personal activations. Consumers led the way through personal appeals, runs, and walks, deepening the engagement level with charities. The profound response from individuals was a key driver of the increase, showing double-digit growth in donations YOY in certain use-cases. Here are just a few of the interesting trends we’ve tracked.

  • Q3 witnessed the return of some of the biggest in-person large-scale events. So far, these events have shown strong success with participation levels exceeding expectations. Included in this return, the London Marathon has regained its position as Just Giving from Blackbaud’s top fundraising event of the year.
  • Outside of London Marathon, donation volume from mass participation events in Q3 lifted +150% vs. Q2 2021
  • The return of these events is benefitting our biggest charities in particular who were hardest hit by the lockdown impact on traditional fundraising events. In Q3 2021, donations to Just Giving from Blackbaud’s top charities were up +110% YoY

Blackbaud Institute Index – UK


The Blackbaud Institute also offers data trends through the UK Index to help you understand the current landscape, as well as the context you need to leverage this as a benchmark against your own efforts. Data can help crystallize your understanding and offer insights on what the recent several months illuminate. We hope you can use this Index to gain confidence in your own planning. These insights should help recalibrate and reinvigorate you in fulfilling your mission over the next few months and beyond.

Since its launch in 2014, the Blackbaud Institute Index has grown to track over £265 million from more than 260 organisations in U.K.-based charitable giving. The Blackbaud Institute Index is updated each quarter and reports year-over-year percent changes and giving to date for the last 12 months. For even more in-depth insights on how current and long-term trends can help you on the path ahead, read the 2020 Charitable Giving Report published in February 2021, where you will find further unique data, information on how to benchmark yourself, and insights for many subsectors.

Giving trend data is an invaluable tool, but it is only a retrospective that shows us what has already happened. Remember that charitable giving data is one facet of the philanthropic prism. Always track trends across your entire revenue portfolio and target a sustainable funding mix in your long-term plans.

2021 Quarterly Overall Charitable Giving

  • Q3 2021 vs. Q3 20201.7%
  • Last 12-Months-5.4%*

A look at year-over-year changes shows overall charitable giving in the U.K. decreased 5.4% over the last 12 months. Additionally, online fundraising in the U.K. experienced a 0.7% increase in the past 12 months ending in September 2021 compared to the previous 12 months ending September 2020.

*Last 12 months ending in September 2021 compared to the previous 12 months ending in September 2020

How we create the Index

Each quarter, we draw actual giving statistics from the databases of more than 260 U.K.-based participating organisations using various fundraising systems to determine how much revenue was raised. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, small- and large-scale events, and major and deferred giving.

We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind and stock gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations, and foundations but do not include giving by individuals or corporations to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double count the revenue when those organisations subsequently make grants to other nonprofits. We do not currently exclude the value of goods and services provided in exchange for gifts (e.g., the cost of premiums) but hope to in the future. And lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g., bounced checks and refunds) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that indices values change slightly as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organisation.

We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. We add up all giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier to calculate the annual percent change for each organisation in our Index.

“Economic conditions, natural disasters, and market fluctuations have made it extremely difficult for non-profits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behavior. That is why we created the Blackbaud Institute Index — to provide insight into what happened in the prior quarter and valuable analysis by leaders in the sector into what fundraisers can learn from it.”

- Chuck Longfield, Founder of Blackbaud Institute Index and Blackbaud Institute Advisory Board Member

Many organisations have big campaigns (events or mailings) that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late April one year but early May the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might be the same. An index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool. However, one downside of a moving median is that it can dampen large fluctuations caused, for example, by disaster relief giving.

Navigating the Current Landscape

  • Remember that donor retention remains one of the most critical factors in fundraising success. Donors give because they believe in the organisation’s mission and believe their gift can make a difference. Stay focused on communicating the continued value of your mission and stewarding your supporters. By this same token, supporters want to know how the organisations they care about are faring. Don’t be afraid to be transparent with donors about challenges the organisation is facing. Earnest communication about challenges allows donors to engage and rise to meet the need.
  • Consider how your organisation has adapted to maximise digital engagement with supporters. As social distancing measures were enacted, organisations across all sectors were forced out of their comfort zones with digital marketing and engagement. Continue to embrace social media and digital platforms to connect with supporters. Staff should consider how they might continue delivering and expanding their newfound success across virtual programming and events through such online platforms as Facebook Live. It is an opportunity to consider how you can continue to engage constituents across a myriad of channels.
  • Stay connected across teams so you can respond with agility. While you may still be working remotely, it has never been more critical for all teams across your organisation to stay in sync. Your capacity for embracing innovative solutions to new challenges will rely on your team’s ability to stay connected. Now is the time for leaders to focus on transparency and communication. If it isn’t already part of your regular cadence, consider incorporating emails or video updates from leaders to keep staff engaged and on the same page. Continue to focus on solid data management practices so that all teams can access the information they need.

For additional resources, visit:

For more information

Questions: Contact us at [email protected].
Press: For press and media inquiries, contact: [email protected].
For more UK insight: The Status of UK Fundraising 2020

For more on these trends and additional insights, check out the Blackbaud Institute annual Charitable Giving Report.

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Benchmarking: The Insight Track to Success

Listen to your data to transform your organisation’s strategy. The Blackbaud Institute Index and Charitable Giving Report keep you aware of the trends, and now this guide offers practical strategies for using these resources to introduce benchmarking across your organisation. Click below to download the free guide, no email required!

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