What does the Dutch public think about expenditures by charities?

In the Giving in the Netherlands Survey 2007, conducted by the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU University Amsterdam, a random sample of the Dutch population (n=1,474) answered the following question.

Charities spend money on roughly three things:

  1. Projects (that ultimately benefit the cause, e.g. in the form of goods and services).
  2. Fundraising (e.g., letters, flyers, advertisements).
  3. Personnel and organisation (e.g.,salaries of employees, office rent).

 What proportion of the funds raised by charities do you think is spent on these things?

The estimates among the Dutch public were as follows.

Projects

48

Fundraising

20

Personnel and organisation

32

Total

100

The next question was the following.

And what do you think is acceptable? What proportion of the funds raised by charities should be spent on…

Projects

74

Fundraising

12

Personnel and organisation

14

Total

100

In short: the Dutch public wishes less to be spent on fundraising costs and personnel and organisation, and more on projects benefiting the cause.

The discrepancy is striking but not as wide as in the UK, where research by the Charities Aid Foundation recently showed that the public thinks it costs 42p to raise £1. Interestingly, the UK public seems to accept a higher level of fundraising costs (26p) than the Dutch public (12p). In the Netherlands, fundraising costs have hovered around 16% in the past years.

Read a more extensive analysis here (in Dutch).

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