The Nonprofit Research Collaborative released a survey of 2014 charitable fundraising in March. The study finds that 60% of US charities reported an increase in their 2014 fundraising revenues while 70% expect to see additional growth in 2015. However, smaller organizations saw less improvement, with only 53% of non-profits with a budget under $250,000 reporting an increase in giving.
Nonprofits providing international aid, relief, or development only represent 1% of the 1,550 charities surveyed. They did report a 76% increase in charitable receipts, the largest of any sector.
The most commonly used vehicles for fundraising continue to be major gifts, foundation grants, board giving, corporate grants/gifts, and direct response/mail. Donations through social media continues to grow with a 79% increase for organizations using it. It it believed that fundraising through social media is supplementing rather than replacing other traditional philanthropic vehicles.
The survey also asked participants if they met their 2014 fundraising goals. For 2014, 73% reported that they achieved their development goals, up significantly from 2010 when only 52% reported success. It is unclear if that improvement is the result of a better economic climate for fundraising, or whether non-profit organizations are setting more modest, and achievable, development goals. Again, when comparing large and small organizations, there is a significant difference in response rate, with only 59% of non-profits with a budget under $250,000 reporting success.
Marts & Lundy presented The Philanthropy Outlook: 2015 & 2016 in conjunction with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Their report predicts an overall all increase in giving by 4.8% in 2015 and 4.9% in 2016. The proportion of giving credits individuals and households with a majority of contributions (70%), followed by foundations (15%), estates (9%), and corporations (5%).
The forecasted growth is based on projections in increasing personal income and net worth, projected above average growth in the S&P 500, average forecasted growth in the GDP, and above average projected growth in corporate savings.
As the US and global economies evolve over the next 18-24 months, the realities of the marketplace may change or modify these predictions.
It is important to note that the current forecasts of growth are significantly less than historical giving. The current decade (2005-2015) is showing an average annual growth rate 0.8%, compared to 8.5% in the previous decade, 2.1% 1985-1995, and 2.6% 1975-1985.
The report also comments on the growth of foundation giving. Individual donors are increasingly looking to institutions to manage their giving through vehicles like donor advised funds.
As non-profits plan their short- and long-term fundraising strategies, it will be important not only to consider these trends, but also to monitor the larger environment that shapes these predictions.