Nonprofits That Invested in Fundraising Staff, Resources Were More Likely to See Increases in 2010

A majority of charities surveyed saw their fundraising revenue remain stable or increase last year, according to the 2010 Year-End Survey of the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC), a coalition of six fundraising and philanthropic organizations. The survey also showed that strong fundraising results were more likely when organizations invested resources in fundraising staff and infrastructure, including volunteer management.

The study asked about two key measures of fundraising – the percentage of organizations reaching their fundraising goals and the percentage of charities raising more funds in one year compared to the previous year. In the NRC survey about 2010, just 52 percent of organizations reported reaching their fundraising goals that year. In a survey conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) about 2009, 53 percent of charities reported meeting their yearly fundraising goals that year.

In addition, the percentage of organizations raising more money in 2010 compared to 2009 was 43 percent, the same percentage found in the previous survey when respondents were asked if they raised more money in 2009 compared to 2008.

The significant shift was in the percentage of organizations raising about the same amount of money in 2010 compared to 2009. Twenty-four percent saw stable amounts of giving in 2010, compared to just 11 percent at the end of the year in 2009. At the same time, the percentage of respondents raising fewer funds dropped from year-end 2009 (46 percent) to year-end 2010 (33 percent).

The survey also showed that no single type of fundraising was more important than any other in determining overall success toward goal. On average, charities used six of 10 listed fundraising approaches, indicating that nonprofits typically employ a mix of methods for communicating their mission and seeking support. Participants could respond about vehicles used to ask for comparatively small gifts (mail, email, special events, payroll deductions, online approaches and more), for major gifts and for support from institutions such as foundations and corporations.

As has been the case in past years, survey participants were highly likely to see growth in online giving. “Online giving showed growth in 2010, with online results increasing at 58 percent of the organizations that employed it last year,” said Chuck Longfield, senior vice president and chief scientist at Blackbaud, a member of the NRC. “However, online contributions form a comparatively low percentage – less than 10 percent typically – of all funds raised at a given charity.”

The 2010 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey: Funds Raised in 2010 Compared with 2009 (PDF) can be downloaded here. The full report includes analysis of the major questions about fundraising in 2010 by size of organization, type of charity (subsector), tactics or fundraising vehicle used and share of contributions received from different donor types (individuals, foundations, corporations, bequests and other charities).