non profit fundraising in 2010, and what we're doing now

January 14, 2011

Two things happened in major news this morning:

1. The good 'ol RNC, was reported to be $20 mil into debt and, is about to "threaten its future as a central player in the 2012 presidential election." The party was only able to raise seven mil for the mid term elections, while the democratic party raised 38. Oddly enough, this loss in funding has resulted in an increase in spending in the non profit sector, because donors didn't simply stop giving. Instead, they moved their funding over to interest groups such as American Crossroads which raised $70 million, more than any other advocacy organization.

2. John Thune's protection of the tax deduction for charitable giving passed Senate. The Senator's amendment protects full federal income tax deduction for charitable giving, working against President Obama's proposal to reduce the deduction.

This interesting new chain of events sparked my interest, and I thought I'd look into charitable giving for 2010 - what happened, what worked, and who did what. Oddly enough, charitable giving has actually increased in the struggling economy. The Nonprofit Quarterly reports for 2010 revealed that online giving is up, while other giving is down. However, research has shown that it is still online giving is only small slice (5.7) of the non profit funding.

Blackbaud reported that, in 2010 "Funding sources cited most frequently by respondents are total individual donations (98 percent), individual donations from major giving (92 percent), memberships (89 percent), government grants (88 percent), individual donations from recurring giving (86 percent), individual donations from planned giving/bequests (86 percent), fees for program services (85 percent), and corporate donations (84 percent). Sources least frequently cited are online events (37 percent), special events (53 percent), and for-profit business ventures (54 percent)."

As far as jobs go, online fundraising is still primarily a part time job

So what, exactly, are we doing here? And what is working?

The Non Profit Quarterly reported that nonprofits outpace Inc. 500 companies in social media know-how that the Facebook app that generated $9 million in donations for various nonprofits.

However, NPQ also reported that, "our most popular stories this year were about what nonprofits were not doing: they were not thinking critically, but instead jumping on the social media bandwagon, or passively accepting the ban Apple put on in-app donations."

All in all, it appears that 2010 was a learning year for non profit fundraising, and that 2011 will be a year of, perhaps, honing in and using what works.

What do you think? What worked for your non profit in 2010? What will you be doing differently this year?

(images via Blackbaud's featured 2010 industry results)