New Index Finds YTD Charitable Giving Is Up

Blackbaud, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLKB) has announced the launch of the Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving, a broad-based fundraising index that reports revenue trends of 1400 nonprofit organizations representing $2.2 billion in yearly revenue on a monthly basis. The Index is based on actual revenue statistics from nonprofit organizations of all sizes representing arts, culture, and humanities; education; environment and animals; healthcare; human services; international affairs; public and society benefit; and religion sectors.

The Index reported that overall revenue increased by 12.1 percent for the 3 months ending April 2010 as compared to the same period in 2009. A significant portion of this increase was related to the very generous outpouring of support to organizations helping with relief efforts in Haiti.

“This new index offers the nonprofit sector valuable and timely information,” said Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “While not a random sample or census of the entire nonprofit sector, the responses from Blackbaud’s clients are likely to be very helpful in informing our understanding of the latest trends in giving.”

Along with the launch Blackbaud released additional data and analysis that reports on organizations by size. The Index found that three-month revenue for small organizations (prior year revenue of < $1 million) increased 12.3 percent in April, while revenue at medium organizations (prior year revenue of $1 – 10 million) decreased 2.5 percent, and revenue at large organizations (prior year revenue > $10 million) increased 19.2 percent.

The data show that donations for the smaller organizations bottomed out in July of 2009, remained roughly flat throughout the second half of 2009, and turned upward starting in January 2010. Donations to large organizations may have reached bottom in December 2009, but it is hard to tell which part of the large upturn in March was due to Haiti versus general improvement in ongoing donations, especially since donations declined in April.

Roger Craver, editor-in-chief of The Agitator and founder of DonorTrends, provided guest analysis of the Index in a report that accompanied the release. Craver states, “In short, all sizes of nonprofits are now emerging from the recession, but smaller organizations are recovering faster.”

He further believes that since smaller organizations tend to be ‘local’ in nature and therefore delivering on meeting community needs like hunger, housing, and other human services, that donors focus more on them in tough times.

Thus, giving to small organization increases and leads this group out of the recession. On the contrary, he states that as a general rule, large organizations have a far broader and deeper range of income sources, and that explains why giving to this group declined slower and rebound is also happening a bit slower than small organizations, although they lead the rolling 3-month YOY revenue change in April.