Looking back at Nonprofit Fundraising According to the 2011 The Cygnus Donor Survey | Miratel Solutions

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Looking back at Nonprofit Fundraising According to the 2011 The Cygnus Donor Survey

I regularly write about current reports focused on many different aspects of nonprofit fundraising but I thought I’d do something a little different and cover a report, “The Cygnus Donor Survey – Where Philanthropy is Headed in 2011” which was released in April 2011 in retrospect. I thought the timing was perfect as they recently concluded their survey sampling this past month for the 2012 edition of this report to be released next month.

Conducted by Penelope Burk between February and March of 2011, the 3rd annual edition of this report surveyed over 22,000 donors to better understand how they planned to give in 2011. 4,262 Canadian donors completed the survey providing a better understanding of the Canadian donor market separate from the U.S. The following are some interesting observations:

  • Overall Giving Increased – 45% of respondents ga2011_nonprofit_fundraising_report_retrospectiveve more to charity; while 42% gave the same and only 11% gave less. While 87% of respondents supported the same amount or more causes in 2010 in comparison to 2009, those who supported more causes tended to be under the age of 35, similar to results we reported in September 2011 based on the Millennial Donors Report. This is encouraging news, considering that in addition to younger donors under the age of 35, there was also a trend of increased giving amongst two other key demographics: 1) those with higher annual incomes ($200,000+) as also evidenced by the 2011 Study of High Net Worth Women’s Philanthropy Report ; and 2) those who gifted more than $10,000 in 2010.
  • Optimism & Growth Fall Towards Last Quarter – There certainly was optimism amongst Canadian respondents for their plans in 2011, as 79% indicated they would be giving more last year. Interestingly, as we reported this past January Overall and Online Nonprofit Fundraising Results According to the Latest Blackbaud Index which measures overall and online giving, the index showed that there was some growth in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2011, however that growth seemed to dissipate towards the last quarter of the year. This is in keeping with the results in the Cygnus Donor follow up survey conducted with 2,000 respondents in August 2011 where the response was not as optimistic compared to earlier in the year (April 2011).
  • Room for Further Growth – Although economic uncertainties remain, 26% of those who gave more cited stable or improved financial circumstances as a factor for increased support. However, still 49% of respondents confirmed they could have given more. It is evident that nonprofits still have room to grow their fundraising revenues despite the economic climate and should look at ways to engage key and growing demographics.
  • Traditional Giving Channels on a Decline – There continues to be a decline in traditional forms of giving such as regular mail, as 23% of those who mailed in their donation planned to give less frequently or less dollars through this channel. Overall online giving continued to grow in popularity as in this edition of the survey (2011) and results from the Blackbaud Index also indicated. A major shift in donors in every age demographic expected to make a donation online in 2011.
  • Digital Marketing Grows – It is also expected that as digital marketing is more embraced by nonprofits, that more donors will turn to these to show their support, specifically citing cost-effectiveness in forms of appeal as important to them and that it directly affects how they give, as 66% of donors preferred electronic communications over other methods. They want their contributions to be effectively managed and make more of an impact to the cause, which is evident by the 73% that prefer not to get premiums (or token gifts) and the 36% of online givers that would give less often or not at all, if multiple or non-online appeals are received.

It’s fascinating to look back and see how things turned out in 2011 and that despite the cautious optimism, nonprofits are making adjustments to their strategies regardless of the state of the economy and that donors are maintaining their levels of philanthropy. It’s worth  your time to read the complete Canadian and U.S. reports.

I’m looking forward to the 2012 edition of this report to see the trends from 2011 over 2010 to see what may lay ahead for the nonprofit fundraising sector in 2012 so please check back in April.

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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One Response to Looking back at Nonprofit Fundraising According to the 2011 The Cygnus Donor Survey

  1. Pingback: The 2012 Cygnus Donor Survey Reports on US and Canadian Nonprofit Fundraising | Miratel Solutions

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