Newest Blackbaud Index shows nonprofit fundraising growth slows to near halt | Miratel Solutions

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November Blackbaud results show nonprofit fundraising growth continuing to slow

A warm welcome back to the Miratel blog and today brings us our first opportunity of 2015 to review the nonprofit fundraising data within the esteemed Blackbaud Index. Regular readers will know that Blackbaud provide one of the most comprehensive measurement reports for the sector with a report that draws data from over 3,200 U.S. based charities.

The report creates a rolling three month index of net nonprofit fundraising totals and allows the viewer to compare overall growth trends by sub-sector, size and also online versus traditional fundraising.  We’ve just seen the recently released November report and it’s also definitely worth noting that the October results have been revised upwards. As we reported last month overall fundraising for October showed an increase of just 0.2% which has now been revised to a more encouraging 1.9% increase overall, a figure greatly aided by a 10.8% rise in online fundraising.

We’ve witnessed a very sluggish 2014 so far with an early summer revival followed by decreasing gains seen since August onward and with that in mind the November data just released doesn’t come as a great surprise. According to Blackbaud total fundraising growth slowed to just 0.1%, a low point not seen since August of 2012. Online fundraising was equally soft in relative terms with gains down to 4.4%. I wonder whether that fall from 10.8% in October could be a reporting issue because we’ve typically seen very good to outstanding results for online donations over the last four months of each year since 2010.

I speculate that this may be the case when we look at the overall performance of online fundraising growth from the report for the months of September through December for 2010 through to the yet to be completed data for 2014. The graphic below illustrates this quite effectively and in each case matches or improves upon how online fundraising performs during the first eight months of each year studied.


All of which brings some added pressure to the December results which will be released in about four weeks time. December results are typically very strong and an improvement would be an encouraging way to conclude 2014 and better position the sector for a healthy 2015. The current trend is the most concerning that has been observed since the second half of 2011 and appears to indicate that fundraising gains may be heading into a period of plateau.

Considering that the report demonstrates three consecutive years of strong growth it does present 2015 as a year that will be a bigger challenge to maintain that pattern. Much like the economic patterns nonprofit fundraising gains cannot be guaranteed year-in / year-out and hopes for the fourth straight year of growth will deeply depend on the first quarter of 2015, On a positive note the US economy is forecast to see 2.5% to 3.0% growth in 2015 – a figure that nonprofits would be very pleased to match at this point.

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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