Navigating cancel culture as a not-for-profit
The global pandemic was not the only element of 2020 that shifted the social fabric of Australia. The rise of other topical issues like cancel culture also influenced the changing landscape for charities/not-for-profits. The rise of cancel culture means Australians are increasingly self-censoring when and with whom they share their opinions (65%), alongside hiding their perspective on topical issues because they are afraid of how people will respond (54%).
In this complex environment what do Australian givers expect of charities/not-for-profits?
Almost seven in ten givers (68%) definitely/somewhat want to see the charities they support make their stance clear on current social issues even if they are outside their area of focus. This should not be entered into lightly, however, as givers have frequently or sometimes (44%) stopped supporting a charity/not-for-profit because of the behaviour or stance the organisation has taken.
Gen Z (84%) and Gen Y (77%) are more likely than their older counterparts to want to see the charities/not-for-profits they support take a stance on current social issues outside of their area of focus (cf. 65% Gen X, 52% Baby Boomers, 57% Builders). They are also more likely, however, to stop supporting an organisation because of the behaviour or stance it has taken (63% Gen Z, 50% Gen Y cf. 43% Gen X, 30% Baby Boomers, 25% Builders). Cancel culture is therefore not just impacting Australians but organisations too.
The key reason givers stop supporting an organisation is mismanagement of finances
Navigating cancel culture can be challenging, but it is important to keep in perspective that the reasons givers stop supporting charities/not-for-profits are broader than cancel culture alone. The key reasons givers stop supporting charities are largely within the organisation’s control.
The number one reason givers stop supporting a charity/not-for-profit is a mismanagement of finances (90%), followed by hearing negative reports about the organisation (88%). Too frequent requests for money (86%) and a growing sense of being taken for granted (85%) are also key reasons givers have or would stop supporting a charity/not-for-profit.
Therefore, as leaders of not-for-profits, while it is important to be aware of the changing landscape in which you operate the key barriers to engagement are largely timeless. It is important to continue building a foundation of trust with your donors, being transparent in your finances and vocal in your goals and aspirations. Donors are willing to partner with organisations that are proving themselves trustworthy in their conduct and in their ability to lead their organisations to maximum impacts.