Are You Being Bold This Autumn?

September and October are bellwethers for Autumn spending behaviour in the charity sector. By the time Autumn 2022 campaigns were in the planning stage we knew it was going to be an exceptionally tough period - more so than the first half of the year. So if caution was going to creep into investment decisions we'd see the trend emerge in the Q3 months.

The latest Nielsen data for October dropped last week so we crunched the numbers to see what they could tell us.

We stripped out the Direct Mail figures because these include warm mailing spend, leaving us a picture across 7 channels, Door Drops, TV, Press, Radio, Digital, Outdoor & Cinema. Nielsen doesn't report Paid Social data so we can't include this.

Isolating September & October activity, we looked back to 2018 to compare how the sector was investing during 'normal', pandemic-free years. We also analysed the Top 10 Charity Ad Spends vs Everyone Else, just in case their financial weight significantly skewed the picture.

The good news, charity ad spend in September & October was the highest it has been since 2018. In October inflation hit a 40 year high, demand for food banks surged by 46%, and energy price rises were the highest on record. Charities responded and increased their YOY investment in acquisition campaigns by 14%. The trend can be seen in organisations big and small.

The CAF report that followed the 2008 recession said that while some donors felt the need to reduce what they give, they still gave what they could.

Acquisition helps charities to compensate for those who need to give a little less by bringing new donors to their cause. That can only be achieved by continuing to showcase their work and telling the world they exist. The Nielsen exercise reveals a sector with the wisdom to be bold in times of extremis.

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