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Good Signs in Overall Giving

(July 19, 2011) There’s some good news about giving, as a new report shows nonprofit revenue has grown for ten consecutive months from August 2010 to May 2011.

Furthermore, Blackbaud reports that overall giving increased by 11.3 percent for the 3 months ending May 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010.

“We are definitely doing better in 2011,” said Chuck Longfield, Blackbaud’s chief scientist, in an interview this week with eWire. He said that revenue stopped falling in 2010 and now there are signs of growth.

The findings of the Blackbaud index coincide well with those of the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC), of which AFP, Blackbaud and others are a part. Earlier this year, the NRC reported that a majority of charities surveyed saw their fundraising revenue remain stable or increase in 2010.

All Sizes Seeing Growth

The good news is that the growth is now being experienced by organizations of all sizes. The Index found that three-month overall charitable revenue for small organizations (prior year revenue of < $1 million) increased 17.6 percent in May, while overall charitable revenue at medium organizations (prior year revenue of $1 – 10 million) increased 10.3 percent, and overall charitable revenue at large organizations (prior year revenue > $10 million) increased 9.8 percent.

The Blackbaud index takes an average of three months for each of its measurements, so the May results are an average of March, April and May combined and averaged.

More good news is that although the increase in giving in March and April was modest, the growth is actually quite promising as there was a spike in international relief giving during those months in 2010. Since giving spiked in 2010 due to donations for Haiti, it is notable that giving still saw increases for those months in 2011.

Recovery Uneven

Unfortunately, the recovery has not been experienced the same way by all types of organizations.

“Organizations involved with international affairs saw a 13 percent increase in giving, while fundraising at arts and culture organizations grew nearly 12 percent,” Longfield said in a press release, referring to May 2011 totals. “The increase wasn’t universal however as human services and environmental organizations were still down from the previous year.”

Overall, these are good signs for giving in 2011, but Longfield cautions, “with job growth flat the past two months and the economy weakening; a real challenge for all nonprofits going forward will be maintaining this momentum.”

The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving is a fundraising index that reports overall giving trends of 1,383 nonprofit organizations representing $2.32 billion in yearly overall giving on a monthly basis, both offline and online. The index is based on actual giving statistics from nonprofit organizations of all sizes representing arts, culture, and humanities; education; environment and animals; healthcare; human services; international affairs; public and society benefit; and religion sectors. For more information go to

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