The Blackbaud Index Reveals a Decline in Nonprofit Fundraising RevenueFundraising, Fundraising Services, Lottery fundraising, News, Non-profit fundraising, Online Fundraising, Philanthropy, Telephone Fundraising | Desi Cabrera | July 11, 2012 at 12:01 am
I regularly write about the Blackbaud Index results and how the nonprofit fundraising trends they reflect are useful in that a fundraising professional can use them to gauge and plan their own efforts especially in these unpredictable times. In June, I wrote that the Blackbaud Index results to the end of April 2012 showed inconsistent trends and in May I reported that the results ending March 2012 showed signs of a slowdown. I suggested a cautious, well thought-out plan should be used with the upcoming summer months that are traditionally slower as donors and supporters are focused on the better weather, vacations and family time. Well the beginning of this period is now reflected in the latest Blackbaud Index and the results for the period ending May 2012 are not what we hoped for.
Reporting on the overall giving revenue results of 2,564 nonprofit organizations which have raised a combined $7.1 billion in yearly giving revenue, the latest results for the month of May are lackluster with a decline of -1.1%. This will be the first month in the past twelve that has resulted in an overall decline. As I mentioned, the late spring and summer months generally tend to be slower fundraising months. However, as 2011 saw a trend of increased donor revenue every month over the same periods in 2010 it certainly has become a challenge to meet and exceed last year’s numbers.
Despite the economic uncertainties, it’s quite possible that these latest results are a sign that the fundraising revenue has hit a plateau and is leveling off maintaining 2011 results. However, when you look at the summer months of 2011, there were significant increases that need to be met to avoid a decline. June 2011 saw an increase of 7.8%, July 11.4%, and August 14.1%. These are certainly strong numbers which can be met again in 2012. The challenge for nonprofits is determining how to position themselves in the summer months so that giving levels are kept consistent to the 2011 results and find ways to increase donor revenue from donors who are likely distracted with the better weather and somewhat improved economic conditions.
On the upside, once again by organization size, Small Organizations (those with annual revenue less than $1 million) were the only ones to experience growth of 10.2%, while medium and large organizations continued to experience a decline of -2.0% and -4.4% respectively. Organizations in the Arts & Cultural subsector were the only organization to also experience growth of 6.5%, while all others experienced a decline: Environmental & Animal Welfare -1.9%; Healthcare -13.2%; Human Services -11.1%; International Affairs -10.2% and Public & Society Benefit -3.1%. It’s clear that the decline is being experienced across the board and it’s important for nonprofits to take notice and make adjustments to their fundraising plans and activities to ensure that the upcoming summer month results are stronger.
The Blackbaud Index also measures online giving revenue based on giving results of 2,000 nonprofits, representing $387 million of annual online revenue and resulted in an increase of 6.9%. Although there has been an increase in online giving, the 6.9% still represented a decline of -2.2% from the previous reporting period which showed an increase of 9.1% over the same three month period ending in April 2011. The growth in online giving is across the board and experienced by organizations of all sizes and from all subsectors, with the exception of Human Services which saw a decline of -3.6%.
The Blackbaud Index is definitely an excellent barometer to measure nonprofit fundraising results and to plan future fundraising campaigns. It will be interesting to see results for the upcoming summer months and how they compare to 2011 trends.
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