After Lackluster Year, Charities Optimistic About 2011

After Lackluster Year, Charities Optimistic About 2011

Although 2010 has been a lackluster year for charitable giving overall, many nonprofits are optimistic things will turn around in 2011, National Public Radio reports.

Salvation Army spokesperson Major George Hood told NPR that while donations were down about 8 percent for much of the year, the organization is hopeful its red kettle campaign generated at least as much this holiday season as it did in 2009 — a record $139 million — especially since the organization now allows donors to text contributions from their mobile phones. Like many organizations, the Salvation Army was inspired by the success the American Red Cross had earlier this year raising funds for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti via mobile text message — a campaign that brought in almost $32 million. And while 2010 has been challenging for the organization, in recent days it has seen things turn around. "I notice that retail sales are up and from the reports that we're getting from our field units across the country, we're holding our own," said Hood.

Based on the experiences of several other organizations, the trend should persist. According to a November survey by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, more than a third of nonprofits reported that gift income increased during the first nine months of the year, up from 23 percent in 2009. In addition, more than half the charities surveyed are planning to increase their budgets in 2011.

At the same time, the demand for services and assistance remains at elevated levels, and unemployment is expected to remain high well into 2011. Una Osili, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy, told NPR, "Whether nonprofits...will have enough resources to meet those still something that we have to look at going forward."

Pam Fessler. "Charities Optimistic After Year Of Lackluster Giving." National Public Radio 12/26/2010.