Fundraising Study Provides Some Positive News

Fundraising Study Provides Some Positive News

December 15th, 2011

by Ted Grossnickle

A few weeks ago we shared a link to a survey conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative.  This survey and the resulting report are produced as a cooperative effort of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Giving USA Foundation, Guidestar, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

I wanted to share with you the some interesting findings from the resulting “Late Fall 2011 Nonprofit Fundraising Study,” published this month. 

Slow Recovery, Leaves Some Behind

In general the survey appears to suggest that charitable giving is in the midst of a slow recovery, but that the rising tide may not be lifting all ships equally.  A plurality (41 percent) of organizations reported seeing increases in their charitable revenue through the first three quarters of 2011.  In contrast,  28 percent saw their revenues decline and 31 percent reported that charitable revenues had stayed flat compared to 2010.

New Donors are a Bright Spot

Another series of findings of particular interest related to the number of organizations reporting increasing success in acquiring new donors.  Half of organizations reported that they had more success attracting new individual donors in 2011 compared to 2010.

More See Increases in Gift Size, Than Decreases

In addition, many organizations reported increases in the size of average gifts.  Though 46 percent of organizations reported that the average size of gifts from new and renewing donors stayed flat, more organizations reported seeing increases in the average size of gifts. 

More organizations reported increases in gift size from new donors (30 percent) and renewing donors (29 percent), than those reporting decreases in gift size.  Only 24 percent saw decline in average renewal gifts, and only 25 percent reported decreased average gifts from new donors.

Though we are clearly not out of the woods, and continued global economic instability may jeopardize the gains made both economically and in terms of charitable giving in the last two years, we continue to see indications that donors may be starting to reengage and once again expand the circle of causes which they support.   

It is our job as fundraisers and consultants continue to create opportunities that draw donors back into the fold and maintain the connections with existing donors that have weathered the financial storm.

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