US Nonprofit Fundraising Study Show Growth in 2011 and Optimism for 2012 | Miratel Solutions

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US Nonprofit Fundraising Study Show Growth in 2011 and Optimism for 2012

Recently I wrote about a nonprofit fundraising study conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) which surveyed organizations in Canada on their 2011 fundraising results and their outlook for 2012. The Canadian results I reported were encouraging and promising and after taking a closer look at the USA edition of this report, I can happily say the results were fairly similar.

The NRC is comprised of several groups in the nonprofit sector including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Blackbaud Inc., Campbell RinkerThe Center on Philanthropy at Indiana UniversityConvio, Giving USA Foundation and The National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute. The NRC conducts surveys in the USA and Canada twice a year. The USA survey was based on 1,602 nonprofit respondents and similar to the Canadian survey, there is a general sense of renewed optimism. Some findings from the survey include:


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  • 53% of nonprofits saw an increase in donations over the previous year.
  • Larger organizations with an operating budget of over $10 million were most likely to see an increase (62%). Interestingly, the overall increase appeared in the fourth quarter and this has not been seen in our sector since the pre-recession days in 2007.
  • 59% of respondents met their fundraising goals and the characteristics these respondents shared were that they were all considered larger organizations based on size, the number of paid staff and the experience of the fundraising leader. Smaller nonprofits were less likely to meet their goals in comparison to large organizations at only 48%.
  • The top three reasons attributed to fundraising successes include Increased Awareness both online and offline (12%), Successful special events (9%), Donor Cultivation & Stewardship (8%).
  • 8-10 fundraising methods are used by organizations, demonstrating that nonprofits are open to diversifying. The 3 methods that experienced the most growth in 2011 over 2010 were: online (59%), special events (52%) and major gifts (48%). Although online showed the most growth, it placed 5th in the ranking of fundraising methods most used, with the top three being the board (91%), Direct response (89%), major gifts (89%).
  • Board member giving has improved as 42% of organizations saw an improvement over 2010. This may be an reflective of Board Members taking action based on an economy that has not fully recovered. Board Member participation in their organization’s activities is paramount to the nonprofits success and is a focus in a dedicated section in this report.
  • An overwhelming 71% reported that they are optimistic that their organization will raise more in 2012 in comparison to 2011, with 31% citing the economy as the factor that could most likely impact their results.
  • Surprising is that 73% of charities in the International sub sector are reporting an increase in donations over 2010, however the Blackbaud Index results have been showing a decline in donation revenue from this same sub sector when comparing 2011 to 2010. It’s possible that since there were 40 respondents in this sub sector compared to 18 in the Blackbaud Index, the results cannot be considered definitive or conclusive.

It certainly is encouraging that there have been some successes within our sector although the optimism for 2012 should continue to remain cautious as the economic climate is still unpredictable. By diversifying fundraising methods and focusing on those that generate the best results, nonprofits should continue to experience these same successes.

To view the full report with additional results including the section dedicated to Board members here.
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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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