Mid-year fundraising study bodes well for 2017 year-end

The Summer 2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Study report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) is out and it offers some encouraging findings for U.S. and Canadian charities.  As of mid-year, three-quarters (75%) of surveyed charitable nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada report being on-track to meet their 2017 fundraising goals. That 75% figure represents the highest mid-year percentage of charities reporting that they are on-track to reach goal since the NRC began in 2010.

Additionally, nearly six in ten (57%) of responding charities reported that their 2017 mid-year receipts exceed those at mid-year 2016. This is also a strong result for this mid-year study. “Since 2011, year-end charitable receipts have increased at more organizations than report growth mid-year. On average by December 9% more charities see growth than reported growth in the summer,” according to Annie de Cossey, Principal at Opus Advisors and Chair of the Association of Philanthropic Counsel, a member of the NRC.

By comparison, at mid-year 2016 less than half (49%) of charities responded that they had raised more January – June 2016 compared to 2015. When you add the additional consideration that this study was in the field before disaster relief contributions began coming in for the hurricanes, fires, flood, and earthquakes that occurred later in the summer, it looks like 2017 will be a banner year for fundraising in the U.S. and Canada.

THREE OF FOUR CHARITIES ARE USING CUSTOMIZED APPROACHES TO REACH SPECIFIC AGE GROUPS

“Experts in fundraising talk about how customized messaging improves results. This study finds that three-quarters of study participants used at least one approach intended to help them reach a specific generation or age cohort,” says Amy DeVita, managing partner of TopNonprofits, also an NRC sponsor. “It is vital for organizations to recognize that one message, or even one delivery channel, does not fit all.”

One of the most frequent age-focused approaches is planned giving. Of the 61% of responding charities that use planned giving, 37% deliberately market planned gift opportunities to people age 70 and over, while 42% market planned giving specifically to “Boomers”.

“Other studies show people make their first will in their late 40s or early 50s. Charities might want to consider asking long-term Gen X donors about including the charity in an estate plan.” says Michael Kenyon, President and CEO of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, another NRC sponsor.

MILLENNIALS MOST COMMONLY TARGETED WITH CUSTOMIZED MESSAGING

Among the 76% of charities responding that they used any type of age-focused method, only a little over four in ten (42%) create different messaging based on the donor’s age. Within this subset of 42%, Millennials (ages 22-37) are the most frequently targeted age cohort, reported by 36% of those charities that create distinct messages. Just over thirty percent (32%) customize messaging to reach Boomers (53-71) while 28% craft message specific to “Matures” (71 & over) and 27% prepare messaging to connect with Generation X (38-53).

SMALLER CHARITIES, HEALTH CHARITIES MOST LIKELY TO TAKE INNOVATIVE APPROACHES

Smaller responding charities, with budgets under $1 million, were more likely than larger groups to accept gifts via social payment services (e.g., PayPal, Venmo). They were also more likely to host events for families and to seek volunteer leaders age 40 and under.

Health charities were most likely to use a wide range of different communications methods, from the 94% that said they post twice a week or more to Facebook to 56% that accept social payments.
Human services charities were least likely to use different methods intentionally to appeal to different age groups.

These percentages are based on 838 respondents that offered information about which methods they use at all and which they used to reach different age groups.

ABOUT THE NONPROFIT RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE (NRC) AND THIS SURVEY

CFRE International is a proud coalition partner in the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) which is dedicated to gathering and analyzing the most accurate data possible to help charities become more effective at fundraising. We are pleased to share the results of this important work with you. The findings described above are just a few among many in the Summer 2017 Report released this week. For answers about how organizations in your sub-sector or region are faring, or more about fundraising methods being employed to reach different generations, download your free copy of the report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative website.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT FREE OF CHARGE

CFRE International would also like to express our thanks to the hundreds of CFRE certified fundraising professionals who make this important annual study possible by sharing their organization’s fundraising results. In addition to CFRE International, other NRC member organisations include: Association of Fundraising Professionals, Association of Philanthropic Counsel, Giving USA Foundation, the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and Top Nonprofits.