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The Nonprofit Research Collaborative: November 2010 Fundraising Survey

Urban Institute, Additional Authors
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Document date: November 29, 2010
Released online: November 29, 2010


The Nonprofit Fundraising Survey reports on the fundraising results of more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in 2010. Overall, 35 percent of charities reported an increase in private contributions for the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Thirty-seven percent reported a decline. The major factors cited for the decline included fewer individuals giving, and smaller amounts for the typical gift. The survey represents a unique collaboration by the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics with GuideStar, Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Foundation Center, and Blackbaud.

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Executive Summary

In this ninth annual survey of nonprofit organizations (charities and foundations), respondents answered questions comparing their organizations' total contributions in the organizations 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. Nearly the same percentage of first nine months of reported that giving was up as those that reported giving was down. Of the about 2,500 responses, 36 percent said giving rose and 37 percent said giving fell, while the other26 percent reported that total giving remained the same.

However, there are some differences across organizations according to charity type and budget size.

  • Organizations in four of the analyzed subsectors reported an equal percentage of both increases and decreases in contributions. These subsectors include: Arts, Education, Environment/Animals, and Human Services.
  • International organizations were the most likely to report an increase in contributions, reflecting donations made for disaster relief.
  • In the Health, Public‐society Benefit, and Religion subsectors, a larger percentage of organizations reported a decrease in charitable contributions than reported an increase. In these three subsectors, there is at least a five‐point gap between the percentage with a drop and the percentage with an increase in gifts received.
  • The larger the organization's size based on total annual expenditures, the more likely the organization was to report an increase in charitable receipts in the first nine months of2010, compared with the same period in 2009.
  • Approximately 22 percent of charities used volunteers in positions that were formerly paid positions during the first nine months of2010. This is up from 15 percent a year ago.
  • Most organizations were hopeful about 2011. About 47 percent planned budget increases, 33 percent expected to maintain their current level of expenditures, and only 20 percent anticipated a lower budget for 2011.

End of excerpt. The entire report is available in PDF format.)

Topics/Tags: | Economy/Taxes | Nonprofits

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