Recently, a Talisma Fundraising poll found that nonprofits have seen increases in donor activity and fundraisers are optimistic about 2011.
The poll, which surveyed 383 organizations, was conducted by Talisma parent company Campus Management as part of a FundRaising Success webinar, “Best Practices for Cultivating Major Donors” (available on-demand). Of the 383 nonprofits polled, 77.8 percent reported seeing increased donor activity over the past six months, 47.8 percent reporting “moderate” to “significant” increases. When asked what kind of donor activity these organization expect in 2011, 94.1 percent believe there will be an increase.
“The recession and the [Bernie] Madoff scandal had a huge impact on the nonprofit community — so many of the folks invested with him either had very high philanthropic profiles or were charities themselves, foundations that had stock investments,” says Dan Germain, director of Talisma North America. “All that took a huge hit on the nonprofit industry as a whole. But the economy is bouncing back a bit. People are seeing improvement in jobs. … People are feeling positive about the economic recovery that seems to be slowly taking place.”
The key to capitalizing on this cautious optimism is to focus on efficiency and transparency, according to Germain.
“Difficult economic times are really tough for nonprofits,” he says. “They usually get a double-whammy: They get less money coming and oftentimes have increased demand for their services. So in those kinds of times nonprofits have to get more efficient.
“As they start to recover now, nonprofits want to retain efficiencies that they’ve built in the hard times,” Germain adds. “Donors like to see where their dollars are going. They like to make sure that when they’re making contributions, monies are going to the primary cause of the nonprofit they’re giving to. They’re holding nonprofits accountable more and more.”