Fundraiser confidence grew toward year-end, survey finds

Fundraiser confidence grew toward year-end, survey finds

Fundraisers across the United States and Canada became more confident toward the end of 2020 about being able to meet their fundraising goals for the year, a survey by the Association of Fundraising Professionals finds.

Conducted in late November and early December, AFP's Fundraising Confidence Survey of more than four hundred and fifty fundraisers found that respondents' confidence about meeting their year-end goals had increased to 6.98 on a scale of 1 to 10, up from 6.52 in a September survey. Fundraisers also expressed increased confidence about raising more money in 2020 than in 2019, with the average score rising to 5.47 from 4.89 in September.

In addition, 35 percent of respondents reported raising more from September to November than during the same three-month period in 2019, an increase of three percentage points from the September survey, while 38 percent reported raising less (down from 41 percent in September) and 21 percent reported raising about the same (down from 22 percent). Confidence levels with respect to donor receptivity to fundraising communications also increased, from 6.75 in September to 7.38 in the most recent survey, with confidence about having fundraising success over the next twelve months coming in at 6.47 (on a scale of 1 to 10).

The survey also found that donor retention and stewardship remain fundraisers' main focus, with 60 percent of respondents seeing it as their top priority on average over the next three, six, and twelve months. The percentage of respondents who said major gifts would be one of their three areas of focus over the next three (55 percent), six (60 percent), and twelve months (64 percent) also rose slightly from the September survey.

"It's good to see that confidence is increasing slowly across the board," said AFP president and CEO Mike Geiger. "From our Fundraising Effectiveness Project, we're seeing giving holding steady or even growing a little for many organizations, so I think this may be a case of fundraisers having low expectations for the end of 2020 and seeing those expectations met or exceeded. Hopefully, that translated into a decent year-end giving season for most organizations; I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I suspect we'll see a wide variety of results."

"Fundraising confidence slowly increased before year-end 2020." Association of Fundraising Professionals press release 02/03/2021.