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AFP State of Fundraising 2005 Final Report Released

(July 10, 2006) The final report of AFP's State of Fundraising 2005 Survey is now available online in the Attachments section below (PDF format).

The executive summary from the report is below.

Executive Summary

In early 2006, AFP asked a representative sampling of their membership to compare their organizations’ fundraising totals at the end of December 2005 to their fundraising totals at the end of December 2004.

Some of the key questions that AFP wanted to learn answers to included:

  • How did fundraising fare in 2005 compared to 2004?
  • What fundraising techniques did especially well or poorly in 2005?
  • What types of organizations excelled at fundraising in 2005 (small organizations, education groups, etc.)?
  • What key challenges did fundraisers face in 2005?
  • Did the relief efforts for the Gulf Coast Hurricanes affect charitable fundraising?

United States

In the United States, 62.9 percent of U.S. charities raised more money in 2005 than in the previous year. This figure is only two points lower than in 2004, when 65 percent of U.S. charities raised more money than in the previous year. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24.5 percent) raised less money in 2005 than in 2004, while 12.6 percent raised about the same amount.

More than 66 percent of surveyed charities reached their fundraising goal, and 61.2 percent set 2005 goals that were higher than their 2004 goals.

While some charities believed that the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina would dramatically affect giving to nonrelief charities, the survey results proved otherwise. Two-thirds (67.4 percent) of respondents reported no immediate impact on their organizations’ fundraising from the relief efforts, and 85.1 percent believed they would experience no long-term effects.

The survey also examined different types of fundraising that offered mixed results. Direct mail, online fundraising and special events were less successful, down 7 to 9 percent (the percentage of organizations raising more money in 2005 compared to the previous year). Major-gift fundraising, telefundraising and planned giving all experienced small increases.

What was the single biggest challenge that U.S. fundraisers cited for 2005? Unlike last year, respondents cited “too many nonprofits and increased competition for the charitable dollar” (42.2 percent) as their No. 1 concern. In fact, 2005 marked the first time that increased competition, rather than the economy, was ranked as the biggest challenge. Other challenges included:

  • the economy (34.3 percent)
  • staffing issues in the development office (31.7 percent)
  • brand awareness of charity and mission (28.7 percent)

Despite these challenges, U.S. charities continue to be optimistic about their fundraising success for 2006. Nearly seven in 10 respondents (69.8 percent) believe their organizations will raise more funds in 2006 than in 2005, while 21.9 percent think they will raise about the same and 8.1 percent believe they will raise less funds.

Canada

Canadian fundraisers experienced slightly more success than their American counterparts, with 64.4 percent of respondents raising more money in 2005, a 2 percent increase from the 2004 survey. More than a quarter (26.0 percent) raised less, while 9.6 percent raised about the same.

A nearly identical percentage of Canadian organizations as American groups reached their goal in 2005 (66.0 percent for Canadian groups, compared to 66.6 percent for U.S. charities). More than six in 10 organizations (61.7 percent) set a higher goal in 2005 compared to 2004.

With regard to the effects of relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, 84.1 percent of respondents reported no immediate impact on their organizations’ fundraising and 79.2 percent believed they would experience no long-term effects.

In the 2004 survey, however, 63 percent of Canadian respondents said that relief efforts for the Southeast Asia tsunami had no impact on their fundraising and 91 percent felt there would be no long-term impact from the relief efforts. Canadian fundraisers felt a much greater impact from the Southeast Asia Tsunami relief efforts than the Gulf Coast Hurricane relief efforts, while American fundraisers had the opposite experience.

Results for various fundraising techniques in Canada were much different than in the United States. Canadian charities saw substantial increases in direct-mail success, as well as smaller increases in telefundraising and planned giving. However, there were decreases in major gifts, online fundraising and special events, all between 5 and 10 percent.

Canadians also felt that too many nonprofits and increased competition for the charitable dollar was the single biggest challenge for Canadian fundraisers (49.3 percent). This is the second consecutive year that Canadian respondents have selected increased competition as their most serious challenge. Other challenges for Canadian nonprofits included:

  • staffing issues in the development office (41.6 percent)
  • brand awareness of charity and mission (32.5 percent)
  • problems with overall organization leadership, including the board, volunteers, etc. (29.7 percent)

Despite these challenges, 71.3 percent of respondents believe their organizations will raise more funds in 2006 than in 2005, while 18.7 percent think they will raise about the same and 10.0 percent believe they will raise less funds. This is the highest level of confidence for Canadian fundraisers in the four years that the State of Fundraising Survey has been conducted.

Attachments

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