Summer Impacts Nonprofit Fundraising with Mixed Results According to Blackbaud Index
The summer months tend to be a challenging period for nonprofit fundraising with driving revenue and maintaining supporter engagement and this year is no exception. Last month, I wrote that Nonprofit Fundraising had Experienced a Modest Increase according to the June 2013 Blackbaud Index results. However, this modest increase was short lived as the latest Index results reflecting the three month period ending July 2013 show a drop to 1.8%. This represents half of the 3.8% the index had originally reported and now more than half with the adjusted and up to date numbers of 4.4%.
Based on fundraising results of 3,200 US based organizations that collectively raised approximately $10 billion these are mixed results compared to the same period in previous years. It was, however, marginally higher than 2012 which had an increase of 1.6%, but considerably lower than 2011 which had a decent 5% increase over the previous year. Although the gains have been relatively small what can be surmised is that provided the previous year also had an increase, donation revenue is growing year over year. However, the latest results dos not account for inflation adjusted dollars and when growth is minimal it can provide a false sense of optimism.
Broken down by organization size or type, those with the highest increases over the previous year included International Affairs which grew by 16.4%, Environment & Animal Welfare with 12.2% and Human Services with 4.4%. The only three organization types to experience decreases were K-12 independent Schools with a loss of -4.4%, Medical Research with -3.4% and Arts and Culture with -0.5%. When comparing results to those of the previous month (3 month period ending June 2013) only four organization types experienced gains, three of which were the same top three in the annual comparison: International Affairs 2.9%, Environment & Animal Welfare 1.3% and Human Services 0.9%. The fourth to have experienced some growth was Healthcare with an increase of 1%. Those with the largest decrease in the June to July comparison included Medical Research with a decrease of -7.5%, Public and Society Benefit with -4.5% and K-12 Independent Schools with -3.3%.
Despite rebounding from a four consecutive month drop from December 2012 to March 2013, online fundraising has not fully recovered to its peak results from November 2012 of 22.8%. Based on online fundraising revenue of approximately $2 billion raised by 2,500 nonprofit organizations the three month period ending July 2013 resulted in a modest increase of 14.5% comparatively speaking. Top organizations included International Affairs with an increase of 21.6%, Art & Culture and small organizations growing by 17.6% each. Although no organization suffered a loss, those on the lowest end of the spectrum included Environment & Animal Welfare with an increase of 6.5%, Medical Research with 5.1% and Healthcare with 4.8%.
Although year-to-year comparisons show solid growth, the same cannot be said when compared to results from the previous month’s results where growth was minimal and in most cases there were decreases. International Affairs once again topped the list with a growth of 5.7%, followed by Arts & Culture with 1.6% and small organizations which had flat results of 0%. The bottom of the list included Public & Society Benefit with a decrease of -11.1%, Environment & Animal Welfare with -7%, and K-12 Independent Schools with -5.1%.
These mixed results perhaps were to be expected and I anticipate that it will continue through to the release of the next index reflecting August’s results. However, I am optimistic that we will rebound in the fall starting in September and towards the end-of-year fundraising push.
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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.