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New survey shows aid agencies hit hard by recession

But better times ahead as public donations increase, according to Muslim Aid

A survey of the main development agencies in the UK shows that the economic downturn has hit public donations to international aid agencies with over half of NGOs saying they have had to make appeals for core funding during the downturn. But the findings also show that most organisations are confident that public giving is on the rise as the British economy emerges from recession.

The research was conducted by Muslim Aid as part of their 25th Anniversary celebrations, which are being launched at a dinner on Wednesday night with a Senior Government Member as special guest.

The survey was carried out on behalf of Muslim Aid earlier this month and the main findings were:

  • 57% said that the recession had a very significant or significant effect on their ability to raise funds
  • Nearly half of the respondents to the survey said that the majority of their income came from public giving
  • Half of the respondents had appealed for core funding, with nearly a third saying they closed field offices and 40% reducing staff numbers
  • Over 70% of respondents had seen an increase in donations over the past 6 months
  • Over 70% are optimistic for the future

See attached note for full details

Commenting on the survey, Muslim Aid, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, said:

"The results of our survey show that the recession has had a serious effect on the public's ability to support international development agencies, and many organisations have had to make cuts to ensure that their programmes are maintained.

"The good news, however, is that there are clear signs that the British public's eagerness to give to those in need is increasing as the economy emerges from the downturn. That is good news to the millions of people across the world that benefit through support from organisations like Muslim Aid and our partners in the wider sector.

"It shows that the British public's commitment to international development is resilient and as strong as ever.

"Despite the recession, Muslim Aid has been fortunate in that our fundraising has not been hit by the economic slowdown in the UK, and last year was a record year for us in helping to raise funds for our work in over 70 countries. Our income from UK donations increased by 44% in 2009, as compared to 2008.

“This year, we mark our 25th anniversary. It symbolises the extent of our journey from modest beginnings to a mainstream organisation today that is investing around £40 million into programmes to provide sustainable support to people in need.

"It is a great tribute to those who work tirelessly in the field, and to the thousands of people, particularly in the British Muslim community, who give so generously in support of our work."

- ENDS -

 Notes to editors:

About Muslim Aid  

Muslim Aid was founded in 1985 when leading British Muslim organisations joined together to respond to endemic humanitarian crises in Africa. The following year, conflicts in Afghanistan and Palestine and floods in Bangladesh saw Muslim Aid expand its emergency relief operations. Over the past 25 years Muslim Aid has grown from a small office in London to a leading UK NGO, providing relief and development programmes in over 70 countries across the globe.

Muslim Aid has since tried to ensure that it would strive to serve the whole of humanity in keeping with the principles of Islam.

Muslim Aid now has field offices in 13 countries around the world and work on a range of programmes from disaster relief in Indonesia, to longer term programmes such as shelter reconstruction in Pakistan and educational programmes in Bangladesh.

For more information about the work of Muslim Aid and its international branches, please visit Muslim Aid website at or contact Communications Manager at
[email protected]
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 

For more information about the survey, please contact:  

Carlo Gibbs on 0207 257 9842 or  
[email protected]
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Survey results

Overall, to what extent do you think public donations have been effected by the economic downturn?

Very significantly




Not significantly


Which measures have been implemented by charities during the recession?

Cut back on new services/projects, Cut funding for existing projects, Reduced number of grants given out, Drawn on reserve funds, Reduced staff numbers, Reduced staff hours, Closed field offices

Would you say that income from direct debits, standing orders and one- off donations from the general public have increased, decreased or stayed the same over the past 6 months?





Stay the same


Do you expect that income from public donations is likely to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next 12 months?





Stay the same


Overall, as an organisation how optimistic do you feel about the next 6 months?

very optimistic


Quite optimistic




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