Nonprofit giving begins rebound
April 3, 2012By Alison Lee Satake
Charitable giving rose in 2011, according to a survey of 1,602 U.S charitable organizations by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC). The collaborative released its results this week.
About 53 percent of those surveyed said contributions increased in 2011 over 2010. This is the first time since 2007 that more than half of the organizations surveyed reported an increase. About 16 percent said charitable receipts remained flat in 2011, while 31 percent saw contributions fall.
“We saw a strong surge in year-end giving, helped by the slowly growing economy and people responding to the needs of their communities,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), one of the founders of the NRC, in a press release.
The New Hanover County Community Foundation, which manages about 50 individual and family fund holders, also saw an increase.
“We’ve seen more activity, more deposits in 2011 than previous years,” said Patricia P. Lawler, N.C. Community Foundation regional associate for the Southeast. That translates into more grant funds available to local nonprofit organizations.
“Community foundations tend to stay local,” she said.
Looking ahead for 2012, more than 70 percent of organizations in this latest study anticipate increases in the charitable contributions they receive.
Locally, the Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity reports that their home sponsorships have doubled so far this year over 2011.
“A full sponsorship is $45,000 from the corporation and we match $45,000 for a total of $90,000. We have four of those full sponsorships. In 2011, we only had two,” said Kitty Yerkes, development director for the Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity. Last year’s two sponsors were Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty and Wilmington Housing Authority. The 2012 sponsors are Domino’s, Wells Fargo Advisors/Wells Fargo Foundation, Ecumenical Build and New Hanover Regional Medical Center, she said.
The national study found that most charities employ a wide variety of fundraising techniques. On average, respondents used 8 of the 10 different fundraising methods studied, including online and board member giving.
“Donors are increasingly responding online; this study shows a remarkable result, that almost 60 percent of responding organizations reported an increase in online fundraising in 2011,” said Chuck Longfield, chief scientist for Blackbaud, another collaborative member.
Organizations with revenue above $250,000 -- about 6 in 10 respondents -- require every board member to make a contribution. About a third of respondents reported that their organizations set a minimum contribution amount, which averages $4,977. The average for the minimum board member gift is higher for arts organizations at $5,655 and educational institutions at $12,520.
Click here to read the full survey report.