Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anticipation – Year End Fundraising – Let’s Look in the Crystal Ball and Beyond

At this time of year nonprofits have a lot of anticipation and worry about their year end fundraising. Fortunately, there are a few clues of how things might work out from surveys and results for 2011 so far. In good times they generally predict expected increases. In bad times they predict expected decreases. The good news this year is that the predictions are mixed and also had some good tidbits to take heed of.  So lets look in the crystal ball...and beyond.
This article provides key 2011 fundraising results highlights from three different perspectives. Blackbaud is based on actual giving using hard statistical data - year over year for the same month. Fidelity Charitable conducted telephone interviews with donors and the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) polled nonprofit organizations. They each have something different to offer and you can read the reports for more details.

I will also be writing a companion piece at the Nonprofit Capacity Building Blog where I’ll write more about the NRC report.

The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving
The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving reports that overall giving increased by 6.8 percent for the 3 months ending August 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010. The Index is a broad-based fundraising index that reports total giving trends of 1,276 nonprofit organizations on a monthly basis. It is based on actual giving statistics from nonprofit organizations of all sizes - both offline and online. Although there are large variances when broken down into segments this is certainly overall good news. For more details and new results every month, visit the blackbaud website.

Fidelity Charitable
Fidelity Charitable, the nation's largest donor-advised fund program, reports that despite continued economic challenges, the 502 donors surveyed remain committed to charitable giving. 72% of donors plan to maintain or increase their level of charitable giving this year compared to last year. This number is up from 63% in 2010. An additional piece of good news from this survey: 64% agree that charitable tax deductions have no impact on their giving.

Fidelity has no vested interest in online giving or nonprofits using social media so it is of particular interest to see what they found in their survey. Their respondents are people over 18 who participated in a telephone interview and said that they expected to give $200 or more in 2011. The survey was conducted in mid-October 2011 - this is very fresh data. So does the Internet play a role in charitable giving and what online resources do potential donors use? This survey sheds some light on this subject.

42% use online resources to find information about charitable organizations
     31% Internet search engines
     20% Social media sites

Of all donors surveyed, 40% report they are using some form of technology to make charitable donations this year.

25% organization's website

21% personal fundraising web page established by a friend or family member

10% other – including text to give

The importance of face to face has not died just yet. 51% say they will make donations this year by attending, donating to and/or purchasing items at a charitable event.
See the full Fidelity Charitable story here.

Nonprofit Research Collaborative
This comprehensive report provides survey results from 813 responding charities about their fundraising results and approaches in the first half of 2011. This report does not have hard data like Blackbaud but it is loaded with insight about what is working. Some of the key findings are:

Compared to 2010: 44% of responding charities reported increases in funds raised; 25% said giving was the same as in the same period the prior year; and 30% saw a decline.

Almost all methods of increased investment in fundraising saw increased results at about 30% to 36%

The biggest increase was special events, where 46 % of responding charities reported an increase.

Download the full report via Guidestar here.

So what’s the bottom line here. I think all this means that you have the potential to do better with fundraising in 2011 than 2010 but you have to invest in making it happen - it won’t just happen by hoping it will. Invest in online and offline - there is potential in both.

2010 wasn’t a great year for fundraising so increasing from that base isn’t all that great, but considering the continued economic situation it certainly is good news that donors aren’t – and don’t plan to - give up on charitable giving.

A companion piece to this article “Show Me the Money -  Where Nonprofits Should be Looking" at the Nonprofit Capacity Blog covers what the Nonprofit Research Collaborative reported on what nonprofits are increasing their fundraising efforts on and what is working for them.

1 comment:

Amandla said...

Thanks for commenting on our post on the 2011 Fundraising effectiveness ( and for sharing your blog with our readers.