Looking Ahead: Cause4’s predictions for the charitable sector in 2019

14 December 2018 | By Cause4 staff

2018 has been filled with some exciting developments as well as major challenges for the UK charitable sector. As the year comes to a close, the Cause4 team is looking to the future with their predictions for 2019:


Political shifts – the horror of in-work poverty  

Our CEO Michelle focuses on the realities of Brexit and the associated uncertainty. As we struggle with issues like Universal Credit which has left many poverty-stricken, the drivers for the charity sector lie in the growth of those life-line charities that paper over the cracks. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has outlined that more than 500,000 British workers have been swept into working poverty over the past five years with reports showing that the number of people with a job but living below the breadline has risen faster than employment.[1] We are, therefore, seeing exponential need for food banks with it estimated that one in six employed workers have used them. 

Similarly, the NHS has just backed the charity Help Force’s aim to raise an army of volunteers to support delivery in the NHS to much consternation for those advocating for better budgets to keep the health service thriving. We are also seeing the rise of beauty banks to support basic hygiene needs for workers and charities like Dress for Success that support women with the adequate clothing needed for work. If we’re facing such demand to move even those currently employed out of poverty, then 2019 will be a tough year. We need to see tougher guidelines on paying the Living Wage to fight in-work poverty and for Government to be absolutely clear about where the line really is when it talks about ending austerity.


Is it a win-win? The future of corporate partnerships

Our corporate team Isadora and Laura focus on how we are increasingly seeing companies prioritise investments in and integrations of social purpose and mission in their core businesses.  More so now than ever before, being an agent of positive change is seen as a business driver and the opportunity that this presents for charities who are open to working in a partnership model with corporations rather than a more traditional funding model is real and significant.

2018 also saw the world being given the stark warning that we have just 12 years to prevent climate change. Our colleague Emily notes that as brands become increasingly environmentally-conscious – 2019 will see a growth in ‘climate-conscious’ sponsorship and donations. Green is the new black – and future-thinking charities would be wise to take that on board.


2019 – The year of technology and innovation 

Of course we also need to be mindful of the opportunities for technology. Our managers Annie and Maria point to new programmes, such as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan launching a series of new contactless donation points for the charity TAP London. These machines, which are dotted across 35 London locations will allow donors to tap their bank cards to donate £3 to one of 22 charities. In what feels like a new generation of fundraising, these innovative donation points are becoming increasingly popular, as charities are finding themselves faced with the response ‘sorry I don’t have any change’. It will also help our CEO Michelle who seems to never carry cash!

The evidence suggests that digital giving reaps a much higher return than its coined counterpart, with those paying via phone giving an average of £5.47, compared with £2.34 for those who use cash. With a 365% increase in mobile payments in the last year alone –cashless donation points and mobile donation platforms are likely to take a huge leap forward.[2]


The rise of the young, and the small

Poppy notes that a recent Charity Commission report Taken on Trust revealed an average Trustee age of between 60 and 62. However, at the same time, the 2018 report on The Next Generation of UK Giving named younger donors as the most-giving age cohort in the UK, donating a total of £2.7 billion to over 5,000 charities. In recognition of this, 2019 might begin to see charities inviting younger and more diverse people onto their Boards engaging with those eager to support the sector and ready to call for wider change.

For our Governance and Philanthropy Associate Tom, 2019 will be the year that many charities find their voice again, led by small, local and start-up outfits. He thinks it’s time household-name charities put their houses in order, preventing abuse (in everything from mass fundraising techniques to child safeguarding) rather than managing scandals when they arise and heaping costs onto smaller charities in the form of new regulatory remedies and collective reputational damage. A simple test of big NGOs’ responsibility to smaller members will be ending the practice of letting perpetrators of abuse resign with a fulsome reference from HR. If there are any unscheduled elections and (deep breath) referendums in 2019, expect social causes to have learnt their legal rights and to speak their mind. 

And finally, our Head of Development and Operations Ben, takes a more tongue in cheek approach. It seems that England might actually be turning into a good football team! Uncertainty provides the opportunity for innovation, for adaptation, for hope. You never know, we might even see England lift its first football trophy since 1966 - now that would be a turn up for the books!


What are your predictions for 2019? – Tweet us @OfficialCause4 we’d love to hear!



[1] https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2018

[2] https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charities-raise-offering-contactless-donations-research-indicates/digital/article/1440197



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