Charitable Contributions Continued to Climb in 2013, Survey Finds

More than six in ten charities in the United States and Canada reported an increase in their fundraising revenues in 2013, while seven in ten expect to see additional growth in 2014, a survey by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative finds.

Based on a survey of 538 charities, the Nonprofit Fundraising Study: Covering Charitable Receipts at Nonprofit Organizations in the United States and Canada 2013 (34 pages, PDF) found that 62 percent of respondents reported a year-over-year increase in charitable receipts — up from 58 percent in 2012 and the highest percentage since 2007, when 65 percent of respondents reported an increase in receipts. The percentage of charities that reported lower fundraising revenues on a year-over-year basis fell to 22 percent, from 26 percent in 2012. In addition, 67 percent of the organizations surveyed reported that they met their fundraising goals in 2013, up from 63 percent in 2012.

A collaboration of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, CFRE International, Campbell Rinker, Giving USA, the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics, and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, the survey found that roughly 73 percent of respondents attributed their fundraising success to their organization's development practices, including cultivation and stewardship of donors, media presence, and fundraising plans and campaigns. The rest cited organization-wide or external factors, such as the strength of their programming and mission, leadership, or the overall economy.

Looking ahead, 70 percent of respondents said they anticipate improved fundraising results in 2014 — with 57 percent anticipating growth of between 1 percent and 15 percent, 13 percent anticipating growth of more than 15 percent, and 15 percent anticipating no growth. The survey also found that anticipated fundraising challenges for 2014 include lack of staff time and support (15 percent), the recruitment of new donors (12 percent), and the general state of the economy (11 percent).

"These are very good numbers and represent a trend we've seen over the past few years, with giving growing slowly but surely," AFP president and CEO Andrew Watt told the NonProfit Times. "The real positive is that charities reported strong growth in a variety of different fundraising approaches, including major gifts, special events and online giving. Those are very good indicators of a stronger economy and donors being more confident in their economic situation and ability to give."