I wish I could say that year two has been smoother, easier and more straightforward than year one. But it hasn’t. Benchmarking is hard. And we didn’t exactly make it easier on ourselves by adding a whole new section to the project.
You see, last year we looked at all the data that sat behind over £1bn of charity income and asked our participants some survey questions about how they expected things to go over the coming months and years.
It was, I think, fascinating stuff. But we had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t telling the whole story of our changing sector.
So this year, we decided that in addition to looking at what had already happened, we’d scan the horizon a bit more. We spoke at length to sixteen senior fundraising leaders and asked them what they thought was going on in the market and how it would play out.
The results make for uncomfortable reading at times. Demographics, technology, consumer expectations, commercial competition, data ownership, internal culture, capability, leadership, governance and control all got an airing in a series of wide-ranging discussions – a summary of which we’ll publish later in the week.
Interestingly, the hard data is less dramatic. There have been some shifts – far fewer participants hit their targets last year, for example – but they tend to be incremental rather than radical. Which is kind of the problem.
To use the tired but helpful boiling frog analogy, the water hasn’t got that much warmer over the last twelve months. But we hope that, together, we’re helping the sector see the flames under the saucepan.