Nonprofit Fundraising Show Slight Increase According to Latest Blackbaud Index
Although 2013 is underway, 2012 nonprofit fundraising results are still being assessed via reports like the Blackbaud Index that recently released the latest data for the month ending November 2012. I last reported on Blackbaud’s October Index that indicated Nonprofit Fundraising results Continued its Decline. This was certainly concerning as traditionally there tends to be an increase in giving in the last quarter as a result of end-of-year fundraising strategies.
The Blackbaud Index reports on 3,039 nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and on $7.9 billion in annual giving and the November edition of the index showed an increase of 1.7% over the same three month period ending in November in 2011. Although the overall increase was minimal, it certainly ended the downward spiral that the results seemed to be taking the last half of the year. In fact, after index updates (from newly-adjusted data obtained from each organization) the results show more of a (very) slight improvement in the three month period with an increase of +0.2% in September and +0.1% in October. Although the results may not seem spectacular, they do support other research that indicated American Fundraising Results were Looking Up and they were on the Rise in Canada in 2012 as well.
Smaller organizations, those with annual revenues of under $1,000,000 continue to perform the strongest when compared to other organizations by size with an increase of 5.8%. Environmental & Animal Welfare organizations continue to perform strongly having maintained increases for a 5 month period ending in November with a +9.9% increase while International Affairs continues a 7 month decline with -8.7%. It is clear that although overall results have been varied throughout 2012 there has been consistency when viewing results by organization size or type.
Blackbaud’s Index of Online Giving reported the trends of 1,984 organizations that generated $373 million in yearly online giving and the results were encouraging as there was an increase of 13.3% over the same three month period in 2011 and an increase of 7% over the previous month (October). All nonprofits regardless of size or type experienced an increase, including International Affairs which had seen a decrease online for four consecutive months. The largest gain were K-12 (Education) and Public & Society Benefit with increases of 29.4% and 24.3% respectively.
Dips and (slight) gains in 2013 will be mainly dependent on three factors: the economic environment, nonprofits using diversified strategies and a new outlook on donor relationships. A recent LinkedIn discussion over October’s Blackbaud Index had some great insights and timely advice from industry leaders and insiders:
“[It] is important for nonprofits to do a better job of targeting those individuals or groups who have an interest in the area which you serve. People or organizations donate money because you are doing a job that they feel is important (and often times an emotional attachment) and that you have demonstrated expertise to perform this job better than other groups or organizations. You are not asking for a handout. Rather you are performing useful work that needs to be done by society and you can achieve efficient and effective results. That is the story you must tell. And make it personal…” — Ken Shipman
“Two Key words […]’open’ and ‘targeting’. In my context, targeting means targeting major donors. The key to attracting major gifts is to solve a problem that the donor has that simultaneously results in a gift to the charity. With respect to “open”, it’s remembering that one long-standing definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Nonprofits must be open to all new technologies that can further their fundraising results.” — Bob Cavanaugh
“The reality is that donors do not really distinguish between philanthropic and political fundraising, no matter the tax deduction. Disposable income is a constant, especially in this economic environment. You cannot have the intensity of political fundraising that occurred this year–from the wealthiest to the average income earner–and not have it affect philanthropic giving. […] End of year giving might have offset the decline, but the political impasse in DC over sequestration has given many major donors pause.” –Jerold Kappel CFRE
Of course the growing complexities of fundraising and how this affects overall giving results can overwhelm even the most seasoned fundraiser, however by remaining focused on strong storytelling, targeting donors and diversified initiatives can help strengthen engagement and fundraising performance. I look forward to watching new trends unfold and reporting on results throughout 2013.
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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.