This Is NOT an April Fool’s Joke: Numbers Look Good for 2014 Fundraising
The team at Eleventy Marketing Group has put together a list of the nine nonprofit numbers that predict a positive fundraising forecast for this year. Eleventy had a little help — Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) studies charitable fundraising at nonprofit organizations and the factors that drive success and growth. The organization conducts surveys twice a year, and each survey covers changes in charitable gift amounts received.
Published in March 2014, the report Nonprofit Fundraising Study: Covering Charitable Receipts at Nonprofit Organizations in the United States and Canada in 2013 highlights results from the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey conducted in February 2014. Reported results are based on survey responses from 538 nonprofit organizations across sectors.
The introduction of the NRC report states, “In 2013, the economy continued to grow as signaled by the return of big gifts from the nation’s wealthiest philanthropists. The outlook for nonprofit organizations to hire more staff is positive. Philanthropic growth seems to be trending in the right direction. “
This is good news. Eleventy has summarized some key stats from the report and has also provided some additional thoughts about how to spur growth in your nonprofit. As always, you should read the full Nonprofit Fundraising Study to view more detailed information and in-depth results.
To kick things off, let’s talk about growth: 70 percent of nonprofits expect donations to increase in 2014. This stat shows nonprofit organizations have a very optimistic outlook, the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Recession began in 2007. So what’s the reason for such unbridled optimism? Much of it can be attributed to the fact that the majority of nonprofits met their fundraising goals in 2013 and saw their numbers rise over the previous year.
- 67 percent of nonprofits said they met their fundraising goals in 2013, compared to 63 percent in 2012, 59 percent in 2011
- 62 percent of nonprofits said they raised more money in 2013 than in 2012, compared to 58 percent in 2012, 53 percent in 2011 and 43 percent in 2010
- 62 percent of nonprofits saw an increase in major gifts in 2013
- 62 percent of nonprofits saw an increase in online gifts in 2013, compared to 37 percent in 2011
- Nonprofits based in all regions of the U.S. saw similar growth in 2013:
- 68 percent increase in the South
- 64 percent increase in the Northeast
- 63 percent increase in the Midwest
- 63 percent increase in the West
- Besides art and religion, all other nonprofit subsectors saw growth of at least 60 percent
- 70 percent of nonprofits expect an increase in fundraising results in 2014
- 57 percent of nonprofits anticipate a fundraising increase between 1 percent and 15 percent in 2014
- 13 percent of nonprofits expect to see substantial (15 percent or more) giving gains in 2014
Despite the collective optimism for fundraising success, nonprofits must overcome a number of hurdles to get there. In response to a survey question about the fundraising challenges they face in 2014, some of the most common nonprofit responses included:
- 15 percent lack of staff time/support
- 12 percent recruiting new individual donors
- 10 percent board/volunteer uncertainty about fundraising
- 9 percent mission or case for support
- 8 percent competition in sector
3 ways your nonprofit can drive giving gains this year
Things are going pretty well — but no one can afford to take the foot off the gas pedal. Here are three ways you can take action to spark giving gains:
1. Show and tell people where their money goes
This has become a hot topic over the past couple years, with journalists and watchdog groups reporting more on nonprofit overhead and spending. While we all know investment in employees and services is necessary for continued growth and success, this heightened sense of scrutiny and awareness does mean nonprofits need to focus more on showing donors where their money goes. Personal stories, videos and dollar-for-item breakdowns can all have a big impact on keeping donors connected to your organization and your cause.
2. Find ways to keep donors consistently involved
Nonprofits need to find more effective ways of engaging donors — and keeping them engaged — between donations. You want your donor relationships to be constant and ongoing rather than a once- or twice-a-year pit stop. One way to do that is by making an effort to expand your monthly giving program. Consider providing incentives (content, acknowledgments, gifts) to encourage monthly giving. Another way to keep donors involved is via online engagement. Consider installing a program to allow your donors to be online volunteers, giving them the power to represent your nonprofit and mission with their own fundraising websites.
3. Make your nonprofit brand more definitive
With more nonprofit organizations in existence than ever before, it’s more important for your organization to stand out. You want to position your nonprofit to fill a unique space in your sector. You want to differentiate your organization from the competition. To do that, you need to hone in on and highlight for your audience the things you do that no one else does. You have to chisel down your message to build a brand that encourages people to give because you are a one-of-a-kind organization providing a one-of-a-kind service. By building and defining a stronger nonprofit brand, you build stronger donor relationships.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.