Charitable Contributions Rose in 2011, Report Finds

Charitable Contributions Rose in 2011, Report Finds

Although the economy remains a concern for most nonprofit organizations, for the first time in four years many groups saw an increase in donations in 2011, a new report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative finds.

The report, Nonprofit Fundraising Study, 2011 (47 pages, PDF), found that 53 percent of the 1,602 charities surveyed reported an increase in donations in 2011, while 70 percent said they expect to see additional growth in 2012. Donations remained flat for 16 percent of the organizations surveyed, while less than a third experienced a decline.

To boost income, most organizations are relying on a variety of fundraising techniques, with groups, on average, employing eight of the ten different methods mentioned in the survey, including direct mail, special events, planned gifts, and online fundraising. Six in ten respondents also said they require every board member to contribute to the organization, while about a third said their organizations set a minimum contribution amount for board members, with the average almost $5,000.

"These findings are a pleasant surprise, given that the collaborative's surveys through September 2011 showed relatively flat levels of fundraising," said Andrew Watt, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. "We saw a strong surge in year-end giving, helped by the slowly growing economy and people responding to the needs of their communities."

"53 Percent of U.S. Charitable Organizations Surveyed Say Contributions Rose in 2011." Nonprofit Research Collaborative Press Release 04/02/2012.