14 Noteworthy Findings on the State of Nonprofit Fundraising

By eleventy marketing group

14889351_mThings continue looking up for fundraisers. After the devastating donation drop-off during the recession years, giving levels continued their steady climb upward in 2014. That’s good news for nonprofits and it comes with a collective outlook of optimism for fundraising in 2015.

Those are the key takeaways from some new survey findings exploring the existing fundraising landscape. We’ll share a handful of those findings with you today to give you a better sense of the current state of nonprofit fundraising and a baseline to gauge your own fundraising results.

About the Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s (NRC) Winter 2015 Report

The NRC survey collected data from more than 1,200 organizations in the U.S. and Canada about charitable receipts in 2014. The Winter 2015 report is the fifth annual report using the same methods and same questions. Responding charitable groups included large and small organizations (by budget size) and organizations from every subsector.

14 Findings from the Winter 2015 Nonprofit Fundraising Study

Some numbers from the NRC’s report on nonprofit fundraising that caught our attention:

73% of charities met their fundraising goals in 2014

63% of nonprofits saw an increase in funds raised over 2013

46% of organizations reported using social media for fundraising in 2014

79% of those organizations reported an increase in the amount received via social media fundraising

68% of the organizations using text appeals reported increased contributions from this method of fundraising

53% of small organizations (expenditures under $250,000) reported growth in charitable receipts for 2014

66% of large nonprofits ($10 million or more in expenditures) reported growth in receipts

67% of small-to-medium size organizations ($250-$999K in expenditures) reported growth

70% of nonprofits anticipate improved fundraising results in 2015 compared to 2014

56% expect 1-15% growth in funds raised in 2015

Most common fundraising methods used in 2014:

• Major gifts
• Foundation grants
• Corporate support
• Board donations
• Direct response/mail

Frequently cited online and social media fundraising methods:

• Daylong campaigns days like Giving Tuesday (79%)
• Online sales (36%)
• Peer-to-peer fundraising by people participating in walkathons and other events or activities (33%)

What single issue most positively affected your organization’s fundraising in 2014?

• Individual giving
• Strong stewardship program
• Dedicated staff, volunteers and community

What will most affect your organization’s fundraising for 2015?

• Online and social media fundraising
• Strategic planning
• Grants and events
• Diversified fundraising

A Few Quick Notes on These Survey Findings…

Nonprofits meeting fundraising goals 2010-2014

More fundraising goals were met in 2014 than in the past five years

As noted above, 73% of nonprofits said they met their fundraising goals in 2014. That’s up from 67% in 2013 and 63% in 2012. A rise of 10% in two years in undoubtedly significant, as is the consistent post-recession rise in giving over the past five years. The NRC notes in the survey report that this is “the best result since the group began asking the question in 2010.”

Fundraising via social media seems to be on the rise

A surprising 79% of nonprofits using social media fundraising reported an increase in funds received in 2014. The NRC report notes this number has typically hovered around 50% in the past, so this is a big jump. There is definitely a lot of opportunity with social fundraising, though the NRC notes that typical gift amounts “are likely $100 or less, and renewal rates have not been thoroughly tested”.

The fundraising outlook for 2015 seems very optimistic

As noted above, after seeing some pretty positive fundraising results this past year, 7 out of 10 nonprofits expect to see even-better results in 2015. And with the continued strengthening of the economy, rising household incomes, and increasing consumer confidence, it’s possible we could even see a return to pre-recession giving levels in 2015.

Download the full Winter 2015 Nonprofit Fundraising Study here