Fundraisers Optimistic About 2011, Survey Shows
Fundraisers are noticing slight increases in donations, but not enough to keep pace with higher demand for charitable services in today's economic environment.
That was the key finding in the newly released Nonprofit Fundraising Survey: November 2010. Based on data from GuideStar, the survey was conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a coalition comprising the joint efforts of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Foundation Center, GuideStar and the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics.
According to the survey, which garnered about 2,500 responses from more than 2,350 public charities and 163 private foundations, 36 percent of respondents said giving rose, 37 percent said giving fell and 26 percent reported that total giving remained the same. However, there were differences across fundraisers according to charity type and budget:
- Organizations in four sectors reported an equal percentage of increases and decreases in donations — arts, education, environment/animals and human services.
- International organizations were the most likely to report increases in contributions, reflecting donations for disaster relief.
- A larger percentage of organizations reported decreases in donations than increases in the health, public-society benefit and religion sectors.
- The larger the organization's size based on total annual expenditures, the more likely the organization was to report an increase in charitable receipts in the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.
- About 22 percent of organizations used volunteers in positions that were formerly paid positions, up from 15 percent last year.
- Most fundraisers were hopeful about 2011 — about 47 percent planned budget increases, 33 percent expected to maintain their current level of expenditures and only 20 percent anticipated lower budgets.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- The proportion of participants reporting decreased contributions dropped 14 percent, from 51 percent in October 2009 to 37 percent in October 2010.
- The percentage who said contributions had increased grew 13 percent, from 23 percent in October 2009 to 36 percent in October 2010.
- For the eighth consecutive year, a majority (68 percent) of participants reported increased demand for their organizations' services.
- As has been true in previous years, respondents who reported decreased contributions cited "Fewer individuals gave" and "Gifts from individuals were smaller" as the primary reasons for the decline.
- Half of the organizations represented in the survey receive the bulk of contributions during the last quarter of the year, the period known as the giving season. Of this number, 36 percent predict that contributions received during the fourth quarter of 2010 will exceed those from the last quarter of 2009, 43 percent expect end-of-year contributions to be about the same as last year, and 22 percent anticipate that end-of-year contributions will be lower.