Charitable Giving Climate Continues to Decline, Nonprofits Say
Just over 86 percent of fundraisers surveyed said the economy is having a negative or very negative impact on fundraising right now, a slight improvement from the 93 percent who reported such an effect in December 2008. Almost 60 percent expect a continued negative effect from the economy in the next six months, while 23 percent said the economy will have a positive impact during that time.
Approximately 57 percent of fundraisers said their organizations raised more money (32.3 percent) or about the same amount (24.7 percent) in 2008 than they did in 2007, while just over 39 percent reported raising fewer dollars in 2008. Nearly two-thirds of fundraisers (62.2 percent), reported no change in the timing of scheduled pledge payments during the past six months, and 67.2 percent saw no change in the payment of pledges in the full amount during that time.
“There is no question that some organizations are really suffering, but nonprofits are resilient,” said Timothy L. Seiler, director of public service and The Fund Raising School at the Center. “Fundraisers are still working hard and donors are still giving, albeit perhaps at lower rates and a slower pace.”
“Nonprofit executives and boards should recognize that good fundraisers are close to their donors, know what is happening in their lives, and understand best when and how to request a gift. They are the voice of the donor back to the organization,” Seiler continued. “Carefully building relationships with prospective donors, demonstrating sensitivity to their circumstances, and offering flexibility in helping them structure a gift will produce positive results.”
The PGI survey also asks which fundraising techniques are most successful; survey participants currently perceive major gifts, direct mail and planned giving to have the highest levels of success. With the exception of Internet and email fundraising and direct mail, fundraisers are reporting that their success with most techniques (major gifts, planned giving, special events, foundations, telephone, and corporate gifts) is at or near its lowest levels since the study began.