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Trends: In 2010, Expect Charitable Donors to Keep Giving Through Long-Term Pledges

(Dec. 22, 2009) Businesses and individuals hit hardest by the economy's slide have shifted charitable giving patterns to longer-term pledges and gift commitments rather than ceasing to give altogether, according to a study released yesterday by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) benchmarking study revealed that the most effective fundraisers use a variety of well-rounded programs and activities to raise money, shattering the myth that big ticket galas, golf tourneys and telethons are the only way to attract donors. The most successful philanthropic programs have a sustained emphasis on building relationships and cultivating major gift donors. Data were gathered from 58 foundations that support non-profit hospitals across the U.S. and Canada, focusing on the 2008 fiscal year when the recession's full impact was hitting charities hard.

"The fact that in this deep recession, donors are still givers and have not halted contributions signals a depth of relationship and commitment to the individual organizations which should be continually nurtured by healthcare fundraising operations," said William C. McGinly, AHP's president and CEO. "The real message here for healthcare executives and boards is take care of your donors and support your fundraising staff and mix of fundraising activities to cope with the recession."

Fundraising is not a recession-proof venture, notes AHP in its report. However, instead of ceasing giving altogether, businesses and individuals hit hardest by the economy have shifted giving patterns. The focus is now on longer-term pledges and gift commitments, which have bolstered production returns even as outright gifts of cash fell slightly. The fact that they have shifted giving methods as opposed to halting gifts signals a depth of relationship and commitment to the organizations among these donors.

The data was compiled through AHP's Performance Benchmarking Service. For more information, go to

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