Trends & data analysis

Charities spending just 2% of advertising budget on internet

06 October 2014

Figure has remained static since 2006

Charities in the UK are spending just 2% of their collective advertising budget on online advertising, according to a new report from nfpSynergy.

The report Ad Infinitum: Charity advertising and media usage, found that out of their combined advertising spend of £394.4m in 2013, charities spent just £78.8m on internet adverts. In comparison, internet advertising for the total UK market is forecast to reach 50% this year. Furthermore, this 2% expenditure has remained largely static since 2006, when it stood at 1%.

Charities’ advertising represented 2.9% of the UK advertising market, which reached nearly £14bn in 2013, and is forecasted to reach £14.7bn in 2014.

Direct mail advertising continues to be the advertising channel that charities spend the most on. In 2013, they spent £238.9m, some 61% of their total spend. However, this represents a £35.0m fall from the height of direct mail spend in 2011, and 2013 is the first time expenditure on direct mail has fallen for the second year running since 2004.

Money spent on TV advertising has risen every year since 2009, from £35.8m to £77.1m and now accounts for 20% of charities’ advertising budgets, having previously accounted for 9.3% of the budget 10 years ago. The report noted that TV is one area where the gap between the charity sector and the wider market in media spending is narrowing, with TV spending in the UK market at 28%.

Joe Saxton, nfpSynergy’s driver of ideas, said: "Although charities are increasing their spending on TV, they continue to resist internet advertising when it continues to boom in other sectors. Is this because charities are way behind in terms of technology? Or is internet advertising an extravagant use of money for few benefits and charities are just more frugal?"

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Becky Slack

Becky Slack is managing director of Slack Communications, a publishing and communications agency with a social conscience. She has a 20 year career in the media industry, including more than 10 working within and around the charity sector.  

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