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AFP Fundraising Survey Shows Charitable Giving Recovered in 2003

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(Alexandria, VA, March 14, 2004) - Seventy-three percent of charities raised the same amount of money or more in 2003 than in 2002, a 13 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals' (AFP) annual State of Fundraising 2003 Survey. AFP is the largest community of fundraising professionals in the world and represents more than 26,000 individuals.

The survey, which asked 3,000 charitable fundraisers to compare their organization's fundraising efforts in 2003 to 2002, found that charitable giving increased for most types of organizations in the charitable sector (education, health, etc.) and for different fundraising techniques (direct mail, planned giving, online giving, etc).

Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated they raised more money in 2003 than in 2002, while 20 percent raised approximately the same amount and 27 percent reported raising less money in 2003. In comparison, last year's survey showed that only 48 percent of organizations raised more money in 2002 than in 2001, while 12 percent raised the same and 40 percent raised less.

'We have to keep in mind that 2001 and 2002 were some of the worst years for charitable giving over the past forty years,' said AFP President and CEO Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE. 'Charitable giving, while not outright decreasing, was very flat. While our survey can't measure exactly when it happened, at some point in 2003, charitable giving turned the corner.'

Maehara has spoken with many organizations that have reported excellent fundraising totals in the last quarter of 2003. This is especially critical, according to Maehara, because anywhere from one-third to 40 percent of all giving occurs during the last three months of the year.

The average overall increase in fundraising for all respondents to the survey was 5.74 percent. Education charities performed the best in 2003, increasing their fundraising on average by nearly 12 percent. Environmental (6.59 percent), religious (6.25 percent), healthcare (4.44 percent) and social service organizations (4.16 percent) also did well.

Arts and cultural organizations did not perform as well, increasing their fundraising totals, on average, by only .82 percent. The category of 'other' organizations, including international organizations, actually saw its average fundraising decrease by 0.87 percent.

Larger organizations that raise more funds also tended to perform better. Organizations that raised more than a million dollars did very well, increasing their fundraising totals by at least 9 percent. In contrast, organizations raising less than a million performed poorly, with charities that raised less than $500,000 seeing their fundraising totals actually decrease by half a percentage point on average.

'The increases for larger organizations correspond with increases we saw for major gifts and planned gifts,' said AFP Chair Colette M. Murray, J.D., CFRE, and CEO of Paschal Murray, an executive search firm in San Diego. 'Larger organizations have the resources to run major giving and planned giving programs, so when those categories go up, those organizations benefit. The results also show the value of having a professional fundraising staff, who are trained to raise funds even when the economy is tough.

' The survey also found that online giving is becoming more popular with charities and donors. Forty-seven percent of organizations indicated they use the Internet to solicit gifts, compared to 34 percent in 2002 and 37 percent in 2001. Of those organizations they employed online giving techniques, 61 percent raised more money in 2003 through online giving than they did in 2002.

A fact sheet with charts and tables is located under attachments below.

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