Winter 2016 Nonprofit Fundraising Study

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1 Winter 2016 Nonprofit Fundraising Study Covering Charitable Receipts at Nonprofit Organizations in the United States and Canada in 2015 March 2016 A Study From

2 Acknowledgements The Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) thanks all respondents who took the survey in January and February Your willingness to share information about your organization makes it possible for this report to appear. Most importantly, we thank every individual who made this report possible, from concept and survey design through data analysis and proofreading. These include the NRC committee, Lynn Lukins at Data Analytics & Research Solutions for data analysis, Linh Preston at Fogus Consulting & Writing for writing and editing assistance, and Gabrielle Robbins for proofreading. Members of the Nonprofit Research Collaborative are Winter 2016 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey, Copyright 2016 Nonprofit Research Collaborative Project management by For permission to cite or reproduce, please contact Melissa Brown at This report, PowerPoint slides based on graphics in this report, infographics on selected NRC findings, and links to earlier reports can be found at Nonprofit Fundraising Survey March 2016

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4 CONTENTS List of Figures... iii List of Tables... iv KEY FINDINGS... 1 KEY TRENDS... 2 INTRODUCTION... 3 SECTION I: 2015 results % of charities reported growth in charitable receipts... 4 Organizations attribute success to major gifts, bequests, and working smarter overall... 5 Changes in charitable receipts by organizational size... 6 Larger organizations more likely than smaller to see increases... 6 Across size groups, increase in the share of organizations reporting higher fundraising revenue compared with last year at this time... 7 Changes in charitable receipts by type of organization... 8 Health and Arts organizations report greatest fluctuation among subsectors... 8 Change in charitable receipts by region Growth highest in U.S. West, lowest in U.S. South Predicted change in charitable receipts compared with actual results Nearly three-quarters met 2015 fundraising goal Organizations attribute success to hard work; missing goal linked with economy or leadership challenges Smaller organizations remain less likely than larger ones to meet goals Canadian organizations most likely to meet fundraising goal SECTION II: Fundraising methods FOR Direction of change in charitable receipts in 2015 by methods used Organizations that do not see an increase in overall fundraising results are much less likely to see increases in most fundraising methods SECTION III: TRENDS SINCE Trends in changes in charitable receipts by methods often asked in person, Trends in changes in charitable receipts via a specific communication medium, and special events, Trends in changes in charitable receipts from institutional donors, SECTION IV: SPECIAL SECTION ON BEQUESTS More than 2/3rds of organizations raise funds with bequests Higher education organizations are the most likely to receive bequest dollars Larger organizations are more likely to receive bequests Bequest amounts received Average bequest amount most frequently between $25,000 and $100, Smaller organizations most likely to receive lower total from bequests SECTION V: Outlook for CONCLUSION METHODOLOGY Statistical significance About the Nonprofit Research Collaborative Appendix I: Survey questions Nonprofit Fundraising Survey i March 2016

5 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts, 2015 compared with Figure 2: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by size, 2015 compared with Figure 3: Share of responding organizations seeing an increase in fundraising revenue by size, 2015 compared with Figure 4: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by subsector, 2015 compared with Figure 5: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by U.S. region and Canada, 2015 compared with Figure 6: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by U.S. region and Canada, 2015 compared with 2014 and 2014 compared with Figure 7: Predicted results for 2015 compared with actual results Figure 8: Did your organization meet its fiscal year 2015 fundraising goal? Figure 9: Trend in percentage of organizations meeting fundraising goal, Figure 10: Words provided to explain meeting goals Figure 11: Words provided to explain not meeting fundraising goal Figure 12: Percentage of responding organizations meeting 2015 fundraising goal by organizational size Figure 13: Percentage by whether the responding organization met its 2015 fundraising goal, by region Figure 14: Percentage of responding organizations that use each of 15 fundraising methods Figure 15: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by most frequently used fundraising method, 2015 compared with Figure 16: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by less frequently used fundraising method, 2015 compared with Figure 17: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by least used fundraising method with slight increases, 2015 compared with Figure 18: Percentage of responding organizations that indicate using specific types of online or social media fundraising in Figure 19: Percentage of respondents reporting an increase in funds raised by method and by whether the organization s overall charitable receipts increased from 2014 to Figure 20: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by year, Figure 21: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received from major gifts, Figure 22: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through board giving, Figure 23: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through planned gifts realized, Nonprofit Fundraising Survey ii March 2016

6 Figure 24: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through new committed planned gifts, Figure 25: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through direct mail, Figure 26: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received by other online, Figure 27: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through special events, Figure 28: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through telephone appeals, Figure 29: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through foundation grantmaking, Figure 30: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through corporate giving and corporate foundation grantmaking, Figure 31: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through federated campaigns, Figure 32: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received from congregations, Figure 33: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by subsector Figure 34: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by organization size Figure 35: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by total amount of bequest dollars Figure 36: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by average size of bequest amount Figure 37: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by greatest and least total amounts and by organization size Figure 38: Anticipated direction of change in charitable receipts, 2016 compared with Figure 39: Responses about anticipated challenges to 2016 fundraising, compared with what most negatively affected 2015 results Figure 40: Responses about anticipated positive impact to 2016 fundraising, compared with what most positively affected 2015 results Figure 41: Percentage of responding charities by Census region compared with registered charities IRS and Business Master File, July Figure 42: Responding charities expenditure total, compared with reporting charities filing IRS forms Figure 43: Responding charities by subsector compared with charities registered with the IRS Nonprofit Fundraising Survey iii March 2016

7 LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting an increase in charitable receipts, Table 2: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting a change in increased charitable receipts by subsector, Table 3: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting increased charitable receipts by subsector, Table 4: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting decreased charitable receipts by subsector, Table 5: Trend in percentage of responding organizations meeting fundraising goal by organizational size, Nonprofit Fundraising Survey iv March 2016

8 KEY FINDINGS 65% 73% Sixty-five percent of respondents saw fundraising receipts increase in 2015 compared with This is a slight increase from 63 percent in 2014 and 62 percent in Seventy-three percent of survey participants met the organization s fundraising goal, essentially no change from last year. More Health organizations (70 percent) reported increased charitable gifts in 2015 compared with 2014, compared with only 56 percent a year ago. Fewer Arts organizations (61 percent) reported an increase in funds raised in 2015, compared with 2014 (70 percent). U.S. Southern organizations were least likely to see an increase in giving (64 percent reporting increases). Responding organizations in the U.S. West were most likely to see an increase in charitable receipts (74 percent reporting increases). Canadian organizations reported greater funds raised in 2015 compared with Sixty-seven percent reported increases, much higher than the 53 percent a year ago Despite overall increases, a larger share of organizations experienced a decline in results from about half of the fundraising methods used than was the case in 2013 or The methods showing this (usually slight) change include many that typically form an important part of a fundraising program: direct mail, major gifts, board giving, and others. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 1 March 2016

9 KEY TRENDS Since 2002, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative or one of its founding partners has collected data about fundraising results. The three trends here are among the most important as of The percentage of organizations reporting increased charitable receipts continues to rise over the past seven years -- from 43 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in Organizations report that gifts most often asked for in person -- major gifts, board giving, and planned gifts -- continue to see increased charitable receipts, reinforcing the importance of personal fundraising. Organizations that invest in fundraising staff, budget for fundraising activity, training for leadership and volunteers, etc. are more likely to report positive results. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 2 March 2016

10 INTRODUCTION A stronger economy and lower unemployment rates helped nonprofit organizations see little change in the amount of charitable gifts received in 2015; however, many are concerned that growth will actually decrease as donors are uneasy over an unstable economy and the political environment leading up to the U.S. Presidential election. For the first time since the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey began tracking Canadian organizations separately, the results for that nation are very comparable to the results for the United States. This report reveals to what extent a wide range of charitable organizations in the United States and Canada saw increases, decreases, or no change in charitable receipts in Nearly 1,200 organizations answered Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) survey questions in early 2016 about charitable receipts from January through December Responding charitable groups included large and small organizations (by budget size) and organizations from every subsector, Arts through Religion. Findings are based on responses remaining after data cleaning, 1,197 total, including 71 from Canada. Questions ranged from changes in charitable receipt amounts in 2015, compared with 2014, to expectations for These findings can help an organization plan for its fundraising efforts. We share results about charitable receipts in 2015 and compare those with findings from similar surveys from 2005 through This section also compares what charities predicted would happen in 2015 with what actually did. One of the unique features of the NFS is our trend data, which covers findings about charitable receipts from more than a dozen different fundraising methods. This report includes trends for 2005 through 2015 by method. The survey also asked about expectations for charitable receipts in 2016 and gave respondents a chance to comment on specific challenges or trends they anticipate affecting their fundraising this year. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 3 March 2016

11 SECTION I: 2015 RESULTS This section presents overall results, results by size (determined by expenditures), by subsector, and by region. 65% of charities reported growth in charitable receipts For the fiscal year ending in 2015, 65 percent of responding charitable organizations reported an increase in charitable receipts compared with This is the highest percentage seeing an increase since While this is a negligible increase from the 63 percent in 2014, it continues the trend of increases as seen in Table 1. Table 1: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting an increase in charitable receipts, Year Percent seeing increase % % % % % % Twenty-three (23) percent of responding charitable organizations reported a decrease in charitable receipts (compared to 24 percent last year), and 12 percent reported no change (compared to 13 percent last year) Figure 1 shows the percentage of responding organizations by the size of the increase or decrease. For 2015, 45 percent of organizations said their charitable receipts rose between 1 percent and 15 percent. Another 20 percent of organizations reported an increase of more than 15 percent in charitable gifts. These percentages are each just slightly higher than results for The difference is not statistically significant. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 4 March 2016

12 Figure 1: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts, 2015 compared with 2014 Decreased by more than 15% 7% Total with decrease: 23% Increased by more than 15% 20% Decreased by less than 15% 17% About the same 12% Total with increase: 65% Increased by less than 15% 45% Organizations attribute success to major gifts, bequests, and working smarter overall Responding organizations indicated a wide range of internal and external issues that affected their fundraising results for 2015, ranging from staffing levels and economic conditions to increased major gifts and unexpected receipt of bequests. About half of all organizations that answered the survey added comments about what affected their 2015 fundraising results. Results show: 15% mentioned working smarter overall, including having and executing a fundraising plan. 14% stated major gifts and bequests, several adding that they were unexpected gifts. 10% reported decreased and insufficient staff as having a negative effect. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 5 March 2016

13 Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? Upgrading, cleaning, and maintaining our database. Moving forward we have more carefully tracked EVERY donation and correspondence between the donor and our organization. We pull better, cleaner mailing lists and every donor is thanked in a timely manner. Donors are responding!!! Small- to Medium-sized Southern human services organization Met 2015 fundraising goal A very successful year for individual major gifts and more sponsorships than previous years for our signature event as well as a good year for planned giving. Large Canadian human services organization Met 2015 fundraising goal Changes in charitable receipts by organizational size The one factor associated consistently with a lower probability of raising more in philanthropic revenue in any one year is having a lower overall organizational budget from all revenue sources. This has been the case since the NFS began in Larger organizations more likely than smaller to see increases As has been the case in prior waves of the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey, larger organizations (based on reported expenditures) were more likely to see growth in charitable receipts than were smaller organizations (Figure 2). 54% of the smallest organizations (expenditures less than $250,000) reported growth in charitable receipts for % of the smallest organizations reported unchanged charitable receipts in 2015, which is significantly more than the 9 to 11 percent of larger organizations (any level of expenditure $250,000 or above) reporting no change. 72% of the largest organizations (expenditures $10 million or more) reported growth in charitable receipts for 2015; this was also the largest group to see increased giving. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 6 March 2016

14 Figure 2: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by size, 2015 compared with % 17% 29% 66% 68% 67% 72% 11% 10% 10% 10% 24% 22% 23% 19% Increased About the same Decreased < $250,000 $250,000 - $999,999 $1 mil - $2.99 mil $3 mil - $9.99 mil $10 mil and up NOTE: The NRC uses expenditures as a marker for size because annual expenses tend to be more stable, compared with gifts, which can fluctuate with major amounts received from grant funders, bequests, or other single large gifts. Size is based on expenditures as reported on the survey. Across size groups, increase in the share of organizations reporting higher fundraising revenue compared with last year at this time With the exception of small- to medium-sized organizations (those with annual expenditures between $250,000 and $999,999), a greater share of organizations saw increases in fundraising revenue in 2015 compared with 2014 (Figure 3). Figure 3: Share of responding organizations seeing an increase in fundraising revenue by size, 2015 compared with 2014 Expenditure Range $10 mil and up $3 mil - $9.99 mil $1 mil - $2.99 mil $250,000 - $999,999 < $250,000 72% 66% 67% 62% 68% 64% 65% 67% 54% 53% Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 7 March 2016

15 Changes in charitable receipts by type of organization Health and Arts organizations report greatest fluctuation among subsectors 6 in 10 organizations across subsectors reported increased charitable gifts in 2015 compared with 2014 (Figure 4). 70% of responding Health organizations reported fundraising receipts increased in 2015, compared to 56 percent in % of responding Arts organizations reported fundraising receipts increased in 2015, compared to 70 percent in Figure 4: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by subsector i, 2015 compared with % 58% 64% 68% 70% 70% 60% 78% 74% 50% Increased 19% 5% 37% 11% 10% 10% 9% 20% 4% 9% 50% Stayed the same Decreased 19% 25% 23% 21% 22% 20% 17% 18% NOTE: Where the number of respondents is less than 30, results should be interpreted with caution. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 8 March 2016

16 Over time, giving to Health and to Arts has fluctuated, as shown in Table 2. For 2015, the swings in the share of organizations reporting an increase in charitable receipts are the largest. Table 2: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting a change in increased charitable receipts by subsector, Arts, n = 67 52% by 18 70% by 9 61% Health, n = % by 9 56% by 14 70% Because of small sample sizes for the subsectors Religion; Philanthropy, Fundraising, Voluntarism, or Grantmaking; and Citizenship and Civic Improvement, the comparisons in Table 3 and Table 4 may not well reflect these subsectors. However, the fluctuations are still interesting to note. In Table 3, an increase in the share reporting an increase in charitable receipts is a positive sign among the responding charities Religion and for Fundraising, Voluntarism, or Grantmaking. Table 3: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting increased charitable receipts by subsector, Religion, n = 34 52% 6 58% by 16 74% FR/Voluntarism, etc., n = 23 * * 59% by 19 78% * Comparable data not available Table 4 shows a higher number for the share of Civic Improvement organizations that reported a drop in charitable receipts in This hints that this type of organization might be experiencing a more challenging fundraising climate although the low number of respondents makes us cautious. Fundraising and Voluntarism organizations were LESS likely in 2015 than in 2014 to see a decline in giving (and more likely, as above to see an increase). Table 4: Trend in percentage of responding organizations reporting decreased charitable receipts by subsector, FR/Voluntarism, etc., n = 23 39% by 22 17% Citizenship/Civic Improvement, n=19 18% by 19 37% Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 9 March 2016

17 Change in charitable receipts by region Growth highest in U.S. West, lowest in U.S. South A higher percentage of all responding organizations except those in the U.S. South saw increased charitable receipts in 2015 compared with % of responding organizations in the U.S. South reported growth in charitable receipts, and 28 percent reported a drop in gift dollars received. While not statistically significantly different from the North and Midwest, these results continue a trend that giving in the South somewhat trails other U.S. regions. 75% of responding organizations in the U.S. West reported growth in charitable receipts compared with 70 percent in The result for 2015 is different, with statistical significance, from the South and the Northeast. 67% in Canada reported increased charitable receipts, with 24 percent reporting a decrease. These results are more like the overall U.S. results than this survey has found since Canada began to report separately in Figure 5: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by U.S. region and Canada, 2015 compared with % 65% 67% 64% 75% 67% More than previous year About the same 12% 12% 11% 23% 23% 22% 8% 28% 12% 13% 9% 24% Less than previous year Total North Midwest South West Canada Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 10 March 2016

18 Responding organizations in the U.S. Midwest saw little change in 2015 compared with 2014 while all other regions saw greater fluctuations (Figure 6). 28% of responding organizations in the U.S. South saw a 10-point difference, the largest negative change, in those seeing decreased charitable gifts in In 2014, only 18 percent in the region reported a decline in gifts received. 13% of responding organizations in the U.S. West reported decreased charitable gifts in This is a marked improvement from 24 percent in 2014 who reported a decline in gifts received. 24% of responding organizations in Canada reported decreased charitable gifts in 2015, which is also an improvement from the 32 percent in Figure 6: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by U.S. region and Canada, 2015 compared with 2014 and 2014 compared with % 65% 66% 67% 67% 64% 70% 75% 53% 67% More than previous year About the same 13% 12% 11% 11% 28% 23% 24% 22% 15% 8% 15% 6% 9% 18% 28% 12% 24% 13% 32% 24% Less than previous year NORTH MIDWEST SOUTH WEST CANADA Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 11 March 2016

19 Predicted change in charitable receipts compared with actual results In early 2015, 69 percent of responding charities projected increased charitable gifts raised for their fiscal year ending in In this survey, 65 percent actually saw growth in charitable receipts. Fifteen (15) percent of responding organizations surveyed a year ago predicted decreased charitable receipts for The actual result was more discouraging, however, since 23 percent actually saw decreased charitable receipts in 2015 (Figure 7). Figure 7: Predicted results for 2015 compared with actual results 69% 65% Decreased charitable receipts No change 15% 16% 23% 12% Increased charitable receipts Prediction in early 2015 (n=1,046) Actual results for 2015 (n=1,197) The gap between actual fundraising results in comparison to predicted results for 2015 narrowed to 4 percentage points for those anticipating an increase. A year ago, for giving in all of 2014, that gap was 6 percentage points and, for giving in all of 2013, that gap was 8 percentage points. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 12 March 2016

20 Nearly three-quarters met 2015 fundraising goal The NFS is the only survey that asks charities to report funds raised based on whether the organization met its fundraising goal. 73% of responding organizations met their fundraising goal in Figure 8: Did your organization meet its fiscal year 2015 fundraising goal? No 27% Yes 73% The change from the prior survey is very small, just 0.5 percentage points. In 2015, 73.3 percent met their goal, and in 2014 the comparable figure was 72.8 percent (Figure 9). Figure 9: Trend in percentage of organizations meeting fundraising goal, % 73.3% 52% 59% 63% 59% Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 13 March 2016

21 Organizations attribute success to hard work; missing goal linked with economy or leadership challenges In word clouds the size of each word indicates the frequency that term was mentioned, which allows the reader to compare the relative importance of various ideas written in comments. To further aid interpretation, we have added a color code to help differentiate ideas. Used by organizations meeting goals AND by organizations not meeting goals. External factors that organizations cannot change. Only on the list for organizations that met their goal. Only on the list for organizations that did not meet their fundraising goal. Figure 10: Words provided to explain meeting goals Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? Organization met goal Coming off a successful capital campaign and transitioning to regular annual fundraising. Large Canadian higher education organization Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 14 March 2016

22 Figure 11: Words provided to explain not meeting fundraising goal Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? Organizations did not meet goal Overall revenues increased with the public phase of our capital campaign, but at the expense of annual fund cannibalization. Medium Midwestern religious organization Campaign gifts being paid in full seem to have adversely affected. No plan in place to generate replacement dollars. Large Southern health organization Smaller organizations remain less likely than larger ones to meet goals Smaller organizations (expenditures less than $1 million) were far less likely to meet their fundraising goals than were larger organizations, which is consistent with findings from earlier waves of the NFS. The gap between the share of smallest organizations meeting goal and the largest groups has widened, from 17 percentage points in 2013 to 22 percentage points for This has occurred even as a majority of even very small organizations report meeting goal for 2014 and Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 15 March 2016

23 Table 5: Trend in percentage of responding organizations meeting fundraising goal by organizational size, Organization Size Met goal in Met goal in Met goal in <$250,000 48% 59% 61% $250,000 to $999,999 57% 70% 66% $1 million to $2.99 million 63% 71% 76% $3 million to $9.99 million 66% 72% 81% $10 million and larger 65% 77% 83% Figure 12: Percentage of responding organizations meeting 2015 fundraising goal by organizational size 61% 66% 76% 81% 83% Yes No 39% 34% 24% 19% 17% <$250,000 $250,000 to $999,999 $1 million to $2.99 million $3 million to $9.99 million $10 million and up Size is based on expenditures as reported on the survey. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 16 March 2016

24 Canadian organizations most likely to meet fundraising goal Eighty (80) percent of responding Canadian organizations met their fundraising goal in 2015, which is a vast improvement compared to 67 percent meeting their goal in U.S. charities in the South were least likely to meet their 2015 fundraising goal in comparison to the rest of the U.S. regions, although the difference is not statistically significant. Figure 13: Percentage by whether the responding organization met its 2015 fundraising goal, by region 75% 73% 70% 74% 80% Yes No 25% 27% 30% 26% 20% North Midwest South West Canada Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? Special Campaign. Dedicated Volunteers with influence and access. Good planning and execution. Very Large environment/animals organization in Canada Met fundraising goal for 2015 Hired a full-time fundraiser (for the last 9 months, there was only a part-time gift processing officer), also we enhanced the communications team with additional resources, and the two teams began to work really well together. Small- to Medium- international organization in Canada Met fundraising goal for 2015 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 17 March 2016

25 Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? Consistent and systematic organization and reapplication of formal annual giving program (2015 is year two); increased donor engagement and recognition, systematic communication, community outreach; exceeding annual fund (two primary appeals) expectations; segmentation of data base; strong reception and attendance at primary annual fundraising event. Small- to Medium-sized Northern environmental organization Met 2015 fundraising goal In addition to changes in the economy, our fundraising efforts were affected by organizational staffing changes in 2014 and 2015 that prevented our Donor Relations Department from being fully staffed. Medium Southern human services organization Did not meet 2015 fundraising goal Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 18 March 2016

26 SECTION II: FUNDRAISING METHODS FOR 2015 More than 90 percent of responding organizations use each of several methods to raise funds: major and board giving; direct response (mail); and foundation grants and corporate giving. Fewer than 50 percent of responding organizations use the following methods to raise funds: gifts from congregations, distributions from federated campaigns, social media and telephone requests. All of the most frequently used methods saw little change in the percentage of organizations using that method, either remaining flat or fluctuating by only 1 percentage point. Figure 14: Percentage of responding organizations that use each of 15 fundraising methods Often asked in person Request via a communication medium or as a result of an event Institutional donor often requires application process 95% 93% 91% 86% 81% 79% 93% 93% 68% 68% 49% 50% 42% 21% 10% Major gifts Board giving Planned giving (new commitments) Planned giving (received) Direct response/mail Other online Special events Social media Telephone SMS/Text Foundation grants Corporate giving Allocations from federatd campaigns Gifts from congregations Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 19 March 2016

27 Direction of change in charitable receipts in 2015 by methods used We first review the changes in receipts at frequently used methods. Each method here is used by more than 90 percent of survey respondents. 6 in 10 of responding organizations increased charitable receipts from major gifts, which is used as a fundraising vehicle by 95 percent of responding organizations (Figure 15). 4 out of 5 of frequently used fundraising methods board giving, direct response/mail, foundation grants, and corporate giving generated increased charitable receipts at slightly more than half the organizations that used these methods. Figure 15: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by most frequently used fundraising methods, 2015 compared with % 52% 54% 55% 55% Increased Stayed the same 21% 34% 28% 30% 28% Decreased 16% 14% 18% 15% 17% Major giving Board giving Direct response/mail Foundation grants Corporate giving 7 in 10 of responding organizations reported increased charitable receipts received through two somewhat less-often used fundraising methods: appeals and other online requests (like Give Now links on a website. Three other less frequently used fundraising methods planned giving new commitments, planned gifts received, and special events each generated increased charitable receipts at approximately 60 percent of the responding organizations that used them (see Figure 16). Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 20 March 2016

28 Figure 16: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by less frequently used fundraising method, 2015 compared with 2014 Increased 59% 58% 70% 58% 70% Stayed the same 33% 8% 22% 21% 26% 3% 20% 22% 23% 7% Decreased Planned giving (new commitments) Planned giving (received) Other online giving Special events More organizations reported increased charitable receipts in 2015 compared with 2014 from technology-based fundraising vehicles, all of which are among the least used methods ( Figure 17). Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 21 March 2016

29 84% of responding organizations indicated growth in charitable gifts received through social media, which is the highest percentage of any method. However, still less than half (49%) of responding organizations used social media as a fundraising method, up from 46 percent reported in % of organizations using the method reported increased gifts received through SMS/text requests, which is 11 percentage points higher than the 68 percent in This is the greatest change of any method; it is also the least used method, reported by just 10 percent of charities in this study. 45% of organizations that use the method reported increased gifts from congregations in 2015, which is 9 percentage points higher than the 36 percent in Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 22 March 2016

30 Figure 17: Percentage of organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by least used fundraising method with slight increases, 2015 compared with % 45% 45% 41% 84% 58% 22% 79% Increased Stayed the same Decreased 22% Allocations from federated campaigns 13% Gifts from congregations 13% 21% 3% 15% 6% Social media Telephone SMS/Text Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 23 March 2016

31 Figure 18: Percentage of responding organizations that indicate using specific types of online or social media fundraising in 2015 N=1,197 42% 26% 16% 11% 5% Local, regional, or national giving day, including Giving Tuesday Sales-linked fundraising, such as Smile.Amazon or other Peer-to-peer or "athon" fundraising (online pledges made by friends who were asked by a volunteer participating in an event or activity) Crowdfunding, such as through sites like Razoo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, CaringBridge, or others Online charity auction, either through ebay or otherwise Organizations that do not see an increase in overall fundraising results are much less likely to see increases in most fundraising methods Nearly all of the fundraising methods listed in Figure 19 provided increased charitable gifts for no more than 40 percent of responding organizations that saw decreased overall receipts in 2015 compared with Technology-based fundraising vehicles social media, other online, and were slightly more likely to provide increased charitable gifts for these organizations; however, the dollar amounts received through those vehicles are likely not enough to make up for poor or mediocre results from the other fundraising methods. Just 33% of responding organizations with a drop in total charitable receipts saw an increase in major gifts. This is markedly different from growth in major gifts at 69 percent of organizations with increases in gifts or stable gifts received. There are also possible factors that are not development related that could explain lower fundraising results. For example, some of the comments in the open-ended questions indicate continued challenging economies as well as disengaged leadership or an unsupported executive director/ceo. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 24 March 2016

32 Question: What most affected your organization s fundraising results in 2015? The downturn in the economy as a result of the drop in oil prices. Corporations and individuals from the oil sector were either not able to make donations or were reluctant to give as much as they could. Medium- to Large-sized Canadian human services organization Did not meet 2015 fundraising goal Board president in name only. Non-working. Board was in transition and uninvolved. Small- to Medium-sized Northern human services organization Did not meet 2015 fundraising goal PR scandal with our former CEO limited investment in communications and development staffing. Large Western human services organization Met 2015 fundraising goal Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 25 March 2016

33 Figure 19: Percentage of respondents reporting an increase in funds raised by method and by whether the organization s overall charitable receipts increased from 2014 to 2015 Fundraising vehicles listed in order from most to least frequently used. Major gifts Board giving Foundation grants Corporate giving Direct response/mail Other online Special events Planned gift receipts Social media 33% 37% 34% 38% 36% 35% 40% 45% 53% 55% 59% 56% 65% 57% 62% 69% 66% 57% 76% 69% Organizations where overall receipts increased or stayed the same Organizations where overall receipts decreased NOTE: Based on organizations that use the method and that track results. Organizations where overall receipts declined were less likely to report growth in revenue from the most frequently used and often the most important fundraising methods: major gifts, board giving, foundation grants and direct mail, all of which commonly comprise a significant portion of total giving. The organizations reporting a drop in total receipts were nearly as likely at more successful groups to see increases in fundraising methods that are usually considered lower-return on investment: social media, other online, and . It is possible that some organizations are focusing on new and trendy methods of fundraising without having established good plans and programs for the methods that have been proven to work over decades of experience. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 26 March 2016

34 SECTION III: TRENDS SINCE 2005 The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) began conducting surveys in 2002 to track the impact of economic changes on charitable receipts. The Nonprofit Research Collaborative started asking questions similar to AFP s in This year s overall results are followed by trends for fundraising methods used, grouped by like methods and in order of most to least frequently used. Figure 20 shows the trend in overall charitable receipts since The past five years shows a steady, upward trend in the percentage of responding organizations reporting increased total charitable receipts compared to the prior year. However, the percentage of organizations seeing increases is still less than the 69 percent found for This year, while most fundraising methods were successful at a majority of organizations, percentages reporting growth in revenue fell slightly for Major Gifts, Special Events, Other Online, and Federated Campaigns. That is, for Major Gifts, in 2014, 65 percent saw higher revenue; in 2015, 63 percent did. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that more participating charities saw a decline in fundraising revenue in 2015 than had in 2014 from these methods: Major Gifts; Board Giving; Planned Gifts; Direct Mail; Special Events; Corporate Gifts and Grants. The oneto four-point shifts are not signals of significant change, yet a careful plan will consider alternatives in the event a specific fundraising initiative yields less than desired. Figure 20: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in charitable receipts by year, % 69% 65% 46% 43% 43% 53% 58% 62% 63% 65% Increased over prior year 13% 7% 11% 24% 24% 24% 14% 40% 11% 46% 24% 16% 33% 31% 16% 16% 13% 12% 26% 22% 24% 23% About the same Decreased over prior year Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Different recruitment methods for respondents beginning in 2010 mean direct comparison in those years with earlier years will not be meaningful. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 27 March 2016

35 Trends in changes in charitable receipts by methods often asked in person, At least two-thirds of responding organizations used each of the following fundraising methods. Nearly all fundraise through major gift efforts (95 percent) as well as fundraise from their board members (93 percent). Figure 21: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received from major gifts, % 76% 63% 43% 41% 50% 42% 49% 62% 65% 63% Increased 20% 5% 23% 19% 11% 26% 18% 22% 39% 37% 33% 18% 34% 24% 31% 18% 26% 22% 21% 12% 13% 16% Stayed the same Decreased Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Figure 22: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through board giving, % 42% 40% 47% 50% 52% Increased 49% 45% 48% 41% 38% 34% Stayed the same Decreased 12% 13% 12% 12% 11% 14% Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 28 March 2016

36 Figure 23: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through planned gifts realized, % 52% 54% 33% 27% 27% 29% 36% 42% 53% 58% Increased 38% 3% 45% 31% 40% 51% 51% 48% 41% 35% 29% 22% Stayed the same Decreased 22% 16% 27% 22% 22% 23% 16% 22% 18% 21% Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Figure 24: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through new committed planned gifts, % 41% 58% 59% 38% 44% 34% 33% 11% 22% 8% 8% Increased Stayed the same Decreased Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 29 March 2016

37 Trends in changes in charitable receipts via a specific communication medium, and special events, Figure 25: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through direct mail, % 66% 51% 38% 40% 43% 45% 47% 51% 58% 54% Increased 25% 10% 26% 24% 19% 30% 23% 25% 39% 35% 33% 24% 37% 33% 31% 26% 28% 18% 19% 18% 16% 18% Stayed the same Decreased Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 30 March 2016

38 Figure 26: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received by other online, Increased 55% 88% 61% 53% 60% 58% 59% 60% 68% 71% 70% Stayed the same Decreased 33% 28% 33% 31% 34% 34% 34% 27% 26% 26% 5% 12% 7% 11% 14% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 3% 3% Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Figure 27: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through special events, % 22% 23% 74% 9% 17% 57% 19% 24% 43% 24% 33% 33% 27% 40% 50% 45% 27% 27% 22% 27% 53% 62% 60% 58% 28% 18% 23% 20% 18% 20% 17% 22% Increased Stayed the same Decreased Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 31 March 2016

39 Figure 28: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through telephone appeals, % 65% 46% 31% 16% 24% 26% 41% 43% 56% 58% Increased 27% 28% 11% 23% 24% 26% 49% 64% 54% 20% 20% 20% 61% 41% 35% 26% 22% 12% 17% 22% 18% 21% Stayed the same Decreased Data: : Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2010 onward: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 32 March 2016

40 Trends in changes in charitable receipts from institutional donors, Figure 29: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through foundation grantmaking, % 42% 44% 50% 53% 55% Increased 33% 36% 44% 33% 32% 30% Stayed the same Decreased 27% 22% 11% 17% 15% 15% Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Figure 30: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through corporate giving and corporate foundation grantmaking, % 39% 47% 53% 55% 44% 42% 36% 33% 28% No data 22% 19% 17% 14% 17% Increased Stayed the same Decreased Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 33 March 2016

41 Figure 31: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received through federated campaigns, % 25% 21% 34% 33% Increased 58% 55% 52% 48% 45% Stayed the same Decreased 21% 21% 27% 18% 22% Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Figure 32: Percentage of responding organizations reporting change in contributions received from congregations, % 23% 25% 36% 45% Increased 63% 59% 57% 46% 41% Stayed the same Decreased 17% 16% 18% 18% 13% Data: Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Percentages based on organizations that used the method. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 34 March 2016

42 SECTION IV: SPECIAL SECTION ON BEQUESTS The Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) asked several questions about bequests, including how many organizations received gifts through bequests and average amount of bequests. This section summarizes findings about bequests. More than 2/3rds of organizations raise funds with bequests Of all survey respondents, 68 percent reported either bequests or new commitments for planned gifts (see Figure 14). 58% of responding organizations reported increased planned gift receipts in 2015, which is the highest in our decade of trends. 45% of responding organizations with increased fundraising results overall saw increases in planned giving receipts. By contrast among organizations that had a decline in total receipts, just 35% saw increases in planned giving receipts. This wave of the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey asked additional questions about the amounts received from estates in For this group of questions, 760 survey participants responded, and half of those reported receiving bequest dollars in The balance of this section explores more thoroughly the data about bequests provided in that section of the survey. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 35 March 2016

43 Higher education organizations are the most likely to receive bequest dollars Among responding higher education institutions, 78 percent received bequests whereas only a third of other educational organization received bequests in In most other subsectors, between a half and two-thirds of organizations answering this question reported receiving bequest dollars in Figure 33: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by subsector 43% 17% 78% 32% 60% 62% 47% 50% 55% 67% 50% 57% 83% 22% 68% 40% 38% 53% 50% 45% 33% 50% Yes No NOTE: In categories where the number of respondents is less than 30, results should be interpreted with caution. For full description of sectors, refer to the Note on page 51). Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 36 March 2016

44 Larger organizations are more likely to receive bequests Organizations with total expenditures of $10 million or more were significantly more likely to receive bequest dollars than were smaller organizations. The organizations least likely to report bequest receipts in 2015 were the smallest, those with expenditures below $250,000 (Figure 34). Figure 34: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by organization size 20% 32% 39% 56% 75% 80% 68% 61% 44% 25% Yes No Less than $25,000 - $249,999 $250,000 - $999,999 $1 million - $2.99 million Organization Size $3 million- $9.99 million $10 million or more NOTE: The NRC uses expenditures as a marker for size because annual expenses tend to be more stable, compared with gifts, which can fluctuate with major amounts received from grant funders, bequests, or other single large gifts. Size is based on expenditures as reported on the survey. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 37 March 2016

45 Bequest amounts received Among all organizations reporting bequest receipts, the largest percentage (25 percent) received more than $1 million from bequests. Figure 35: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by total amount of bequest dollars 25% 19% 11% 13% 14% 8% 10% $1 - $25,000 $25,001 - $50,000 $50,001 - $100,000 $100,001 - $250,000 $250,001 - $500,000 $500,000 - $1 million More than $1 million Total Received from Bequests Figure 35 is based only on organizations that reported receiving bequests. 19% received less than $25,000 total in bequest receipts. 25% received bequests totaling $1 million or more. Between the two extremes, the distribution is fairly similar, with between 8 percent and 14 percent reporting total bequest amounts received for each choice. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 38 March 2016

46 Average bequest amount most frequently between $25,000 and $100,000 Knowing the average bequest amount (per bequest) can help an organization without an active planned giving program project revenues in the future after making changes to request and receive bequests. In this survey, one-third (33 percent) of respondents that received bequests reported an average bequest amount between $25,000 and $100,000. Figure 36: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by average size of bequest amount 33% 19% 14% 8% 10% 6% 5% 3% $1 - $5,000 $5,001 - $10,000 $10,001 - $25,000 $25,001 - $100,000 $100,001 - $250,000 Average Amount per Bequest $250,001 - $500,000 $500,001 - $1 million Greater than $1 million A very small percentage of responding organizations, just 3 percent, received bequests that averaged more than $1 million per bequest. The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, an NRC sponsor, finds that many organizations base projections of future bequest receipts on the average number and value of bequests received in a year, perhaps averaging over several years. Twenty (20) percent of responding organizations used a calculated average bequest amount as a factor to track or record planned giving commitments made; the majority of the organizations that did so were the largest organizations (expenditures $3 million or more). Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 39 March 2016

47 Smaller organizations most likely to receive lower total from bequests To estimate bequests for an organization that has little or no history, it also will help to know the probability of receiving a given amount in bequests. As shown in Figure 37, between 10 and 12 percent of organizations with expenditures up to $10 million received less than $25,000, and typically, a smaller share received large totals from bequests ($1 million or more). Figure 37: Percentage of responding organizations that received bequests in 2015 by greatest and least total amounts and by organization size 62% Received $25,000 or less Received more than $1 million 10% 0% 1% 12% 12% 6% 8% 12% 1% Less than $25,000 - $249,999 $250,000 - $999,999 $1 million - $2.99 million $3 million- $9.99 million $10 million or more Organization size by expenditures NOTE: The NRC uses expenditures as a marker for size because annual expenses tend to be more stable, compared with gifts, which can fluctuate with major amounts received from grant funders, bequests, or other single large gifts. Size is based on expenditures as reported on the survey. Bequest gifts to my organization have the largest impact on [total] gifts received. Large Midwestern health organization Unknown if met 2015 fundraising goal Bequests and other planned gifts sometimes called the gift of a lifetime are predicted to be increasingly important as members of the Boomer generation (born 1946 to 1964) begin to determine their legacies. NRC sponsor Partnership for Philanthropic Planning offers resources to help small and large nonprofits design and implement cultivation and stewardship programs for legacy donors. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 40 March 2016

48 SECTION V: OUTLOOK FOR 2016 A high majority (69 percent) of respondents anticipate improved fundraising results in 2016, compared with 2015 (Figure 38). 54% of responding organizations anticipate growth between 1 and 15 percent in the amounts raised. Another 15% project growth of more than 15 percent. 32% of responding organizations anticipate that fundraising results will be unchanged or lowered in 2016; only 14 percent anticipated losses for % of Canadian organizations and 24% of Northern organizations anticipate decreased charitable receipts in 2016 compared with % of Southern organizations, 16% of Midwestern organizations and 11% of Western organizations anticipate losses in 2016 compared with Figure 38: Anticipated direction of change in charitable receipts, 2016 compared with 2015 Will be more than 15% lower 5% Will be more than 15% higher 15% Will be 1% to 15% lower 14% Will be the same 13% Will be 1% to 15% higher 54% The biggest ongoing concerns include economic challenges, lack of time and support from leadership, and individual donor recruitment and retention, with many citing a donor pool aging out. While still an anticipated concern, organizations are slightly optimistic that decreased or insufficient staff will be less of an issue in 2016 than it was in A very small percentage (1.5 percent) mentioned the U.S. presidential election as a concern, as well. Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 41 March 2016

49 Question: What will be the single biggest challenge/issue/trend to affect your organization and its fundraising in 2016, either positively or negatively? We are a small community and there are 32 nonprofits either in a capital campaign or launching one in Because the economy is good, everyone is going for it. It may negatively affect us. Medium Western human services organization Met 2015 fundraising goal Current economy and concern over government leadership will play a role in giving. Presidential nominations will play a factor that will determine if the consumer trust is increased or decreased and how the economy reacts to choices available. The current dips in the stock market have made a huge impact on our fundraising. Medium Midwestern health organization Met 2015 fundraising goal Figure 39: Responses about anticipated challenges to 2016 fundraising, compared with what most negatively affected 2015 results About half of all responding organizations left comments. Analysts coded written responses. Respondents could offer more than one idea. Anticipated challenges to 2016 fundraising efforts Most negatively affected 2015 results Economic challenges Lack of time/support; Disengaged leadership, ED/CEO Donor retention/recruitment/inconsistencies Large funder(s) giving less, changing priorities Decreased/insufficient staff Lost big funder(s), received fewer bequests, MG Larger organizational issues (merger, leadership transitions, strategic processes, etc.) 4% 5% 6% 8% 7% 8% 7% 3% 4% 3% 12% 12% 10% 10% Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 42 March 2016

50 For the most part, more respondents project challenges in 2016 from issues that negatively affected fundraising results in The area of most concern and the area with the largest change from 2015 actual impact to projected 2016 impact, is the economy (Figure 39). Despite predicting growth overall, responding organizations are less optimistic that issues that positively affected their 2015 fundraising will reoccur in 2016 (Figure 40). Only 5 percent of responding organizations anticipate major gifts and bequests to help lift their 2016 fundraising results, whereas major gifts and bequests combined was the single largest factor (reported by 15 percent) that positively affected 2015 results. Responding organizations remain cautiously optimistic that intentions to work smarter, executing a fundraising plan, and gifts from new, ongoing, or ending major or capital campaigns will be positive impacts to 2016 fundraising. It is interesting to note that one factor entirely in the organization s control asking, stewardship, and cultivation is not identified as a key element to make a positive impact in Figure 40: Responses about anticipated positive impact to 2016 fundraising, compared with what most positively affected 2015 results About half of all responding organizations left comments. Analysts coded written responses. Respondents could offer more than one idea. Anticipated positive impact to 2016 fundraising efforts Most positively affected 2015 results Working smarter overall; having/executing a plan Major campaign(s) gifts Increased staff Better asking, stewardship, cultivation Media/good PR Strong staff, board, volunteers Institutional donors giving more Major gifts, bequests Successful event/anniversary 9% 7% 8% 6% 6% 4% 6% 5% 5% 9% 5% 4% 6% 14% 15% 12% 15% 18% Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 43 March 2016

51 Question: What special circumstances affect the change you anticipate increased or decreased charitable receipts in 2016 compared with 2015? We are utilizing more opportunities to give and have been in the news recently due to our supported organization s budget cuts, which has created increased new donors and increased dollars from current/past donors. We also are targeting the corporate market, which had not been cultivated outside of a capital campaign previously. Small to Medium-sized Midwestern education organization Did not meet 2015 fundraising goal The past two years have been special efforts first of board, then asking more of major donors and seeking new donors, to meet budget. The approach now is to stabilize this new, higher level of giving in a way that is sustainable, which is to challenge each donor to [make] a larger gift. Small to Medium-sized Northern arts organization Met 2015 fundraising goal Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 44 March 2016

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