Nonprofits Optimistic Heading Into 2012, Survey Finds

Despite global economic uncertainty, nonprofit leaders around the world report a growing sense of optimism regarding increases in staffing and earned and charitable income in 2012, a new survey by fundraising software provider Blackbaud finds.

Based on responses from approximately 2,200 nonprofit leaders in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the 2011 State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey (33 pages, PDF) found that organizations continue to leverage traditional channels of communication and fundraising even as they are expanding their use of new interactive channels. More than half the organizations surveyed raise funds online, and in most countries the percentage raising funds online increased between 2010 and 2011.

The report also found that while nonprofits around the world said that managing relationships with supporters, recruiting new donors, and reporting their accomplishments are critical to growth, most indicated they thought they were not doing enough.

"The single biggest challenge with supporter management is campaign integration," said Adrian Sargeant, the Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, who provided commentary in the report. "Nonprofits need to do more to integrate the online with their offline, and their fundraising with their advocacy and campaigning. Donors want one coherent relationship with the organizations they support, not multiple relationships with half a dozen different teams."