Kansas City-Area Giving, Need Up in 2013

Kansas City-Area Giving, Need Up in 2013

While charitable giving nationally is expected to end the year on a high note, Kansas City-area nonprofits say they are scrambling to balance smaller donation amounts and fewer major gifts with an ever-growing demand for services, the Kansas City Star reports.

Atlas of Giving, a Web-based service that measures charitable giving in the United States on a monthly basis, estimates that total giving nationwide will approach some $415 billion in 2013, up 12.5 percent from 2012 — nearly double the rate of increase recorded last year. And in the Kansas City area, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders told the Star they expect to see improved results for the year. Still, with more than twenty-five hundred registered nonprofits in the region vying for less than $16 billion in annual giving, securing contributions remains challenging and competitive. "We are working harder for less," said Saint Luke's Foundation executive director Mark Litzler. "The number of givers is growing, but the dollar amount is smaller, and major gifts are a smaller proportion of the total."

What's more, the emergence of online giving, a new generation of hands-on donors, and a growing emphasis on performance measurement are putting pressure on charities to operate and fundraise more efficiently. Among other things, local nonprofits face growing competition from Web-based appeals that make it easier for donors to send contributions to organizations outside the region. "The explosion of mobile devices has changed the way we communicate and now puts the ability to give back in the palm of everyone's hand," said Bill Strathmann, CEO of Network for Good, which helps nonprofits use technology to raise funds from "new supporters they otherwise would not reach."

Donors also are looking to support organizations that can show "quantifiable proof of outcomes,"  said Terri Mueller, deputy director of the Greater Kansas City LISC. "They want you to show cooperation with other nonprofits," added Mueller. "They don’t want to duplicate services. They want to leverage their funding with other organizations."

"Philanthropy Grows in 2013, but So Does Need." Kansas City Star 12/23/2013.