Nonprofit Fundraising sees a slower October per Blackbaud Index but reasons for optimism remain
With 2013 nearing its conclusion soon we’ll have the year-end Blackbaud Index data to peruse as we gauge the overall performance of nonprofit fundraising activities over the last 12 months in the US. We’ve just received the report that brings us through to the end of October and while the year over year increase remains (overall charitable giving grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013) the differential over 2012 witnessed throughout the year has diminished to its lowest level, but that’s no cause for alarm as we’ll examine.
Meanwhile the trend toward online giving remains robust, with it now accounting for some 12.4 percent of all fundraising for 2013 to date. The Blackbaud Index studies the performance of almost 4,000 US-based nonprofit organizations.
Today I wanted to look at the composite quarterly data for 2013 thus far and compare with 2012 which should provide expectations of improved results for November and December. Even with the slower growth shown in October, 2013 has still been an outstanding year for fundraising improvements to further enhance the strong results of last year.
Let’s quickly examine the quarterly aggregate data for the last two years so far, we’ll look at overall giving change per quarter for each year. Three things are critical to consider when examining and interpreting the data which is displayed on the right. The rolling 3 month averages will smooth out many of the actual spikes and drops in overall results which in turn produce a more consistent and more valuable set of figures to work with. Crucially, the Q4 2013 data only includes October reporting so the apparently sharp drop is based on incomplete data and may yet change dramatically. I think it will because traditionally the end of year sees a large upturn in fundraising activities which are pronounced by a significant upturn in November and December. In fact that buoyancy can often carry forward into January as well.
Based on the data below you’ll see that is exactly what occurred in 2010-2012 and it’s reasonable to expect similar results this year when we are able to see the data for November and December reported. When you review the original chart below it’s difficult to isolate the trend for Q4 due to the consistent ups and downs.
Therefore I’ve highlighted the performance of online giving during the 4th quarter for each year within the red box indicated. While October normally looks stronger than this month’s result it is still logical to expect growth of 10-18% for November and December which would see the year-end on a similar high to the last few.
As you’ll see the Q4 performance each year is typically the high water mark for overall change of percentage in giving for the 12 month period and with that in mind it’s reasonable to feel that the October results just published are not the beginning of a significant slowdown but rather a more modest beginning to the 4th quarter results of 2013 still to follow.
In future posts we will look more deeply at the results by nonprofit sector during 2013 and also further examine the underlying trend of the continued rapid growth of online giving, will 2014 be the year that it breaks the 20 percent ceiling of all giving? In addition we’ll continue to review the monthly Blackbaud reports as we have in previous months and if you have any questions or thoughts please comment below.
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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.