The Dynamic Growth in Continental Europe
Apart from significant government funding for a number of organisations, fundraising in Italy is dominated by individual giving, which is increasing both in number of givers and in level of average gifts. In 2003, 19 million Italians gave at least one donation with an average annual value of 60 euros. In 2004, 60 percent of the total donations from individuals went to medical causes. UNICEF is the largest charity in Italy while Caritas, a fundraising arm of the Catholic Church, is the best known.
The Italian fundraising sector is still characterised by high levels of volunteerism and low levels of (poorly paid) professionals, making it hard for new NGOs entering the market, as well as those already there, to find really top-notch professional fundraising staff.
In terms of infrastructure, until recently, a poor, slow and inefficient postal system hindered direct-mail fundraising, timely supporter communications and donor-relationship management. This has been gradually improving, but the sector still suffers from a poor and outdated banking infrastructure.
Spain has experienced 14 years of unprecedented economic growth and transformed over the 33 years since the death of its long-time dictator Gen. Francisco Franco. Spain today has a thriving civil society that was banned under the fascist dictatorship.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the “boom” is over, and tougher times are ahead. The Spanish charity market has grown significantly in recent years — both in terms of the overall amount of funds raised and the number of active fundraising NGOs establishing themselves. There is still space for new market entrants and for the overall number of donors to expand from the current levels of around 2.5 million charity donors to closer to 10 million in the next five years, out of a population of 40 million. Similar to Italy, it is estimated that there are around 260,000 nonprofit organisations in Spain. In practice, the formalised NGOs, as we would understand them, in Spain total around 500, and of them, only 40 or so are operating at levels of professional fundraising close to that of NGOs in North America.