Nonprofit Research Collaborative Releases First Report | npENGAGE

Nonprofit Research Collaborative Releases First Report

By on Nov 29, 2010


The Nonprofit Research Collaborative released its first report today. The coalition includes the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, GuideStar USA, the Foundation Center, the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Blackbaud.

November 2010 Fundraising Survey

The first Nonprofit Research Collaborative fundraising survey is based on completed questions from 2,349 charities, 163 foundations, and 386 grant makers. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent by the six partner organizations to their constituents. The 34 page report contains a lot of information across a broad range of questions.

36% of charities reported an increase in donations in the first nine months of 2010, compared with only 23% in the same period of 2009. 37% of charities reported a decrease in giving, a noticeable improvement over 2009 when 51% of organizations reported a decline.

Arts, Education, Environment/Animals, Human Services, and International sub-sectors organizations reported about an equal percentage of increase in contributions as reported a decrease. The Health, Public‐society Benefit, and Religion sub-sectors, a larger percentage of organizations reported a decrease in charitable contributions than reported an increase.

53% of all organizations that reported a decrease in contributions from January to September of 2010 reported drops in foundation grant dollars. Reasons cited for the decline in foundation funding include lower grant amounts and non‐renewed contracts.

In the first nine months of 2010, 68% of respondents reported increased demand for services, compared with 62% reporting an increase in the first nine months of 2009. There was no variation in changes in demand based on organizational budget size.

46% of organizations with $20 million or more in total annual expenditures reported an increase in charitable receipts, compared with only 23% of organizations having total annual expenditures of less than $25,000.

50% of organizations reported that they receive the majority of contributions in the last quarter of the year. 36% of charities said that their giving revenue would increase in the last quarter of 2010, compared with the last quarter of 2009. 43% expect contributions at the end of 2010 to remain about the same as those at the end of 2009.

Between 40% and 50% of organizations in each sub-sector, except International, estimate a budget increase for 2011. For the responding organizations in the International sub-sector, 60% expect an increased budget.

52% of all grantmakers, not just foundations, reported an increase in applications in 2010, compared with same period in 2009. Among grantmakers receiving more applications, 49% intend to increase their budgets in 2011.

Disaster Giving Trends

7% of organizations received contributions for the Haitian earthquake relief, and 3% received donations for Pakistan flood relief. Of the organizations receiving gifts for Haiti, 59% passed the donation along to another organization and 41% funded their own relief efforts. For the organizations receiving gifts for flood relief, 61% forwarded the donations and 38% planned to use them.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University surveyed relief agencies receiving funds and estimates a total of $1.8 billion in total giving for Haitian earthquake relief.

Notable Quotables

“Technically, we’re in a recovery. We are beginning to see some positive signs. But despite that, giving still has a long way to go to return to the levels it was at three or four years ago.” – Patrick M. Rooney, Executive Director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

“For the first time in two years, there is cause for cautious optimism about the nonprofit sector in this economy.” – Bob Ottenhoff, GuideStar President and CEO

“Many foundations, seeking to maximize more limited resources, have steered their grantmaking toward organizations they believe have the best chance to weather the economic storm.” – Lawrence T. McGill, Vice President for Research at the Foundation Center

About the Nonprofit Research Collaborative

Six organizations have formed the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) – the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Foundation Center, GuideStar USA Inc., and the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics. Each of these entities has, at a minimum, a decade of direct experience collecting information from nonprofits concerning charitable receipts, fundraising practices, and/or grantmaking activities.

The collaboration streamlines the process for charities, which will receive fewer surveys will respond to questions once instead of repeatedly. Survey participants will form a panel over time, allowing for trend comparisons among the same organizations. This approach provides more useful benchmarking information than repeated cross‐sectional studies.


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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