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Fewer than half of surveyed nonprofits reported fundraising increases during the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, indicating nonprofits still face a difficult fundraising climate heading into the fourth quarter, the biggest time of year for raising money.
According to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, of 813 responding nonprofits surveyed in July:
- 44% reported increases in charitable contributions received through June, compared with the same period in 2010
- 25% reported giving remained level
- 30% reported a decline so far this year
- 1% did not know.
These numbers are about the same as what NRC reported in its 2010 year-end survey: 43% raised more money in 2010 than in 2009, 24% saw no change, and 33% raised less.
Contrasted to pre-recession findings, in 2007 65% of fundraisers raised more money than in 2006, 11% raised about the same, and 24% raised less, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington.
By subsector, human services organizations fared best through the first half of 2011, but only 50% of those organizations reported increases in the first half of the year. At 20%, international charities had the smallest share of organizations reporting increases.
What are the hot campaign methods
Of the NRC respondents, 12% currently are involved in a campaign, while 34% are in the planning stages. Of organizations currently in fundraising campaigns, 62% report they raised more money in the first half of 2011 compared to the same time in 2010. Organizations with annual expenditures of less than $250,000 did not see any significant increases.
Fundraising methods most popular with nonprofits include:
- 90% sought to raise funds from corporations and foundations.
- 80% used asked board members for major gifts, as well as using special events and direct mail.
- 60% used Internet fundraising and email
- 45% used social media and planned giving.
When asked what they believe will be the most successful fundraising methods for the rest of the year, 67% reported they would focus on large-scale efforts through direct mail, special events, online campaigns and similar activities; 45% said they would focus on larger gifts; and 28% said they saw foundation and corporate support as their biggest potential growth area.
Many charities now use short-term special campaigns to reach more achievable goals, Giving USA Foundation's Nancy Raybin said . ‚ÄúBy setting discrete fundraising goals for specific activities, nonprofits find they can break through the uncertainty about the economy and help donors connect their gifts to community needs,‚Äù Raybin said.
Spending money to make money
- Two-thirds of charities that invested in events saw an increase in event revenue in the first six months of 2011.
- 60% of charities that increased their investment in e-mail and use of the Internet saw increased giving through those methods in early 2011. Only 30% had increased investment in those two methods during the first half of 2011.
- 54% that invest in direct mail or major gifts reported increased revenue from those methods between January and June 2011.
NRC members include AFP, software provider Blackbaud, Center on Philanthropy at Indiana U., Foundation Center, Giving USA Foundation, GuideStar and National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute. For the full report, click here.