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Mixed Fundraising Results Among North American Charities - The AFP State of Fundraising 2002

March 24, 2003

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Canadian fundraising remained strong in 2002 while fundraising in the United States, although still robust for some charities, showed a general decline over 2001 results.

TORONTO (March 24, 2003) - Charitable fundraising across North America remained quite strong in 2002 despite the challenges of a slowing economy, according to a new survey released today by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The survey was released in conjunction with the International Conference on Fundraising, the world's largest annual gathering of fundraisers, taking place in Toronto March 22-26.

The survey, entitled 'The AFP State of Fundraising 2002' asked charities to compare their fundraising totals at the end of December 2002 to the amount raised at the end of 2001. Nearly 63 percent of Canadian respondents and 49 percent of U.S. respondents indicated that they raised more money in 2002 than in 2001; an additional 12 percent of Canadian respondents and 11 percent of U.S. respondents reported raising the same amount. Almost a quarter of Canadian respondents (24 percent) and 17 percent of U.S. respondents stated that they raised at least 20 percent more funds in 2002 than in 2001. The average increase in Canada was 8 percent while in the U.S. the increase was slightly less than 2 percent.

Increases in fundraising were seen in nearly all subsectors of the Canadian charitable sector, especially among religious, public society/benefit, and education organizations, and in all organizations regardless of the level of annual operating budget. The only subsection among Canadian respondents showing a small decrease (less than 2 percent) was organizations raising between $5 million and $10 million.

Fundraising results in the United States were more mixed with education, social service and healthcare organizations, which showed increases in funding, while other organizations, including environmental, public society/benefit and religious organizations, showed decreases in fundraising. However, AFP did not receive enough responses from these latter groups to have a statistically valid sample. Those U.S. respondents raising $10 million to $50 million did better than the overall average, reporting a 6 percent increase over 2001 fundraising totals.

The first 'AFP State of Fundraising' survey was developed in response to the events of September 11, 2001.  Funds raised by charities were immediately impacted by the tragedy.  However, by the close of 2001 surprisingly nearly 60 percent of U.S. fundraisers surveyed saw increases over the previous year compared to 48 percent at year-end 2002. An additional 10 percent raised the same amount of money in 2001 as in 2000. The results were slightly higher in 2002 with 12 percent of respondents raising the same amount as in 2001.

'The survey confirms what our members have been telling us,' said AFP President and CEO Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE. 'The economy continued to hamper fundraising efforts in 2002. That so many charities were able to increase giving to their cause speaks to the professionalism of their development departments and their ability to communicate honestly and convincingly to the public.'

The economy was cited as the single biggest challenge in the United States in 2002 to raising funds. Canadian fundraisers listed a myriad of reasons impacting their fundraising efforts including increased competition for charitable dollars, government budget cuts, and drops in corporate support and sponsorship.

When asked how their fundraising would fare in 2003, Canadians remained optimistic with 68 percent of respondents saying that giving to their organization would increase, and 21 percent saying it would remain about the same. U.S. respondents were more conservative, with 45 percent predicting increases in fundraising in 2003, with an additional 38 percent expecting to maintain 2002 levels.

Despite the positive results, Maehara pointed out that some charities have suffered in their fundraising. 'We're pleased that so many organizations did so well in their 2002 fundraising, especially Canadian organizations. But more than 38 percent of U.S. charities and 25 percent of Canadian organizations didn't raise as much as they did in 2001. The economy and sluggish stock market certainly posed a major challenge to organizations. Plus, in slow economic times, more demands are placed on charities to meet growing needs. Suffice to say, challenges still remain for charities and the fundraising profession. The overall news is good, but there are some caveats.'

The AFP State of Fundraising 2002 Survey is the second annual study by the association. A complete copy of the survey report and analysis will be available in late April; contact the AFP Public Affairs Department at (800) 666-3863.

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 26,000 members in 170 chapters throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and China working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. AFP was formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE). For more information, visit www.afpnet.org.

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