Charity Fundraising Saw No Change During First Half of 2011, Report Finds

For the first six months of 2011, fewer than half of surveyed nonprofits reported fundraising increases compared to the same period in 2010, a new report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative finds.

Based on a survey of 813 nonprofits conducted in July, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative Summer/Early Fall 2011 (38 pages, PDF) found that 44 percent of respondents saw a year-over-year increase in charitable contributions received through June; 25 percent reported that contributions were flat; 30 percent saw contributions fall; and 1 percent said they were unsure. The NRC 2010 year-end survey found that 43 percent of organizations raised more money than they had in 2009; 24 percent raised about the same; and 33 percent raised less. NRC is a group of research organizations that includes the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Foundation Center, Giving USA Foundation, GuideStar USA, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute.

The NRC surveys also found that the relatively low percentage of nonprofits reporting growth in contributions received dates back to the recession and was true for all subsectors through the first half of 2011. In the most recent survey, human service organizations fared best, although only 50 percent reported an increase in fundraising in the first half of the year. International charities had the smallest share of organizations reporting increases, at 20 percent, although those figures may be affected by giving in response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. In addition, 57 percent of the largest organizations in the survey (those with a budget of at least $3 million) raised more in the first half of 2011, compared with just 34 percent of charities with budgets of less than $250,000.

To help boost contributions, 12 percent of NRC respondents are involved in an active capital or other fundraising campaign, while 34 percent are in the planning stages of such a campaign. Organizations currently in campaign mode were somewhat more likely to see an increase in gifts, with 62 percent reporting that they had raised more money year-over-year.

"A much larger percentage of nonprofits were seeing significantly higher fundraising results before the recession," said Andrew Watt, president and CEO of AFP. "With many economists predicting a flat economy for several more years, charities face a very challenging environment in the near future, with fewer funds available while the demand for services and programs remains quite high. This is the reality charities will have to address."

"Charity Fundraising Results See No Change in First Half of 2011." Foundation Center Press Release 09/29/2011.