From a sample size of 276 charities used for analysis, less than three per cent of charities experienced a decrease in demand, 34 per cent experienced no change in demand, leaving a striking 63 per cent reporting an increase in demand for their services.
While the scale of impact on charities was consistent regardless of organisation size, the scale of impact to different causes was varied.
As would be expected, charities addressing poverty and disadvantage were most affected, humanitarian charities reporting an 11.4 per cent increase, followed by welfare at 6.8 per cent and community support organisations at 6.3 per cent.
Queensland charities reported the highest weighted increase in demand for their services, followed by South Australia and Western Australia.
Only three percent of charities expect a decrease in demand next year, with 68 per cent of charities expecting the demand for their services to continue to increase in 2010.
Common concerns of charities surveyed included:
• An inability to employ staff to meet the increased demand.
• Projects being cut, with no new projects being undertaken.
• Fees being raised.
• An increased focus of funders on price rather than service delivery.
• Inability to undertake essential maintenance work.
• The risk of being opportunistic rather than strategic when it comes to planned income generation.
As a result charities reported the necessity to “do more with less” in a bid to counter the range of impacts of the downturn on their target groups or causes.
On a positive note, some charities reported that these declines might be outweighed by improvements in other areas. Government funding ranged from being sufficient to if not sufficient, at least being maintained; some charities reported an increasing use of volunteers; and some charities yet to experience an increase have sharpened their watch on internal costs.
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.