Nonprofit Fundraising Study Reveals 2012 Results and Increased Optimism for 2013
There are many valuable reports that examine various aspects of nonprofit fundraising that help professional fundraisers and the organizations they serve by providing data on the latest fundraising results and trends. I have recently spotlighted the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (email marketing and social media results), The State of Global Civil Society and Volunteering and the 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. Recently the Nonprofit Fundraising Study was released by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative which includes organizations like Association of Fundraising Professionals, CFRE International, Campbell Rinker, Giving USA Foundation, The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, The National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute and Melissa S. Brown & Associates, LLC.
Glass half full
The Nonprofit Fundraising Study is based on a survey of 1,167 U.S. and Canadian based charitable organizations in January and February 2013. The study analyzed 2012 donation revenues in comparison to the previous year (2011) and expectations for the current year (2013).
- Increased Giving – Last year 63% of charities anticipated an increase in donor revenue in 2012, however there was an actual increase in fundraising giving of 58% according to this year’s survey results. What is notable is that the results continue a steady increase in recent years in which previous editions of the research reported only 43% seeing an increase in 2010 and 53% in 2011. These results also contribute to 63% of respondents reaching their fundraising goal. Current results however have not yet reached pre-recession results where in 2006 63% of respondents reported an increase. Size of an organization also played a factor in revenue increases as larger nonprofits were most likely to see an increase than smaller ones which were also less likely to meet their fundraising goals.
- Fundraising Methods – The top three fundraising methods included Board at 92% Major Gifts at 91% and Direct Response at 90%. Initiatives that grew the most within the reporting period included Online Donations with an increase of 57%, Special Events at 53% and Major Gifts at 49%. Other factors that most positively impacted fundraising results include strong leadership/good development plan and an increased awareness each with 10% of respondents citing these. Fundraising methods that had the largest decreases included Corporate Grants & Gifts and Direct Response with a 19% decrease each. One insight the report had is that planning fundraising initiatives in advance will help strengthen engagement and generate support for your cause.
- Donor Engagement – 71% of respondents use thank you letters as an engagement strategy, while almost 75% recruit volunteers directly from their donor’s database. An approximate 80% of organizations post new content online and the research revealed that posting reports, white papers and infographics may have a direct correlation to meeting fundraising goals. Only 56% provided newsletters or annual reporting through regular mail while 74% did so through email. 74% of organizations are also asking some or all their donors to volunteer. There were 9% more organizations that met their fundraising goals and used key engagement methods like volunteer recruitment, mailing or emailing materials and sending thank you letters, indicating that these are key to donor engagement and growing fundraising revenue.
- Planned Giving – What is very surprising is that only a third (34%) of respondents had a formal planned giving program and of those 53% had a planned giving goal. Interestingly 65% of large organizations (with operational budgets of $10 million plus) had one while the percentages steadily drop as operational budgets get smaller. According to research those with planned giving programs often had dedicated resources to manage the programs. Planned giving results can lead to a consistent revenue stream that nonprofits can build on, grow and should be considered as a regular fundraising initiative.
- Increased Optimism – The Nonprofit Fundraising Study report also revealed that an incredible 71% of respondents expected to see an increase in charitable receipts this year in comparison to last year which is indicative of renewed optimism for 2013. After so many years of economic uncertainty, it’s refreshing to work towards reaching fundraising goals with a positive outlook.
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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.