Research & Reports

NRC Survey Results: Optimism and Strategy for the New Year

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According to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s Fall 2019 survey, mid-year results indicated a slowdown in giving, also in line with the Fundraising Effective Project reports of declining charitable giving throughout the year.

Even with a drop of six percentage points in mid-year giving from 2018, organizations are strategizing differently for 2020 and are optimistic about fundraising in the year ahead, with 65 percent of all survey participants projecting a better year for fundraising in 2020.

Here is what organizations are planning around:

  • A potential recession: Charitable giving becomes increasingly complex following a recession, and organizations are planning for it. According to the NRC survey, 38 percent of participants reported planning around the possibility of a recession, avoiding even bigger decreases in giving altogether.
  • The presidential campaign: Do presidential campaigns really impact charitable giving? Blackbaud conducted a study in the 2012 presidential campaign year to determine whether or not campaigns affect fundraising, and North Carolina State University clearly laid out Blackbaud’s findings. The study suggests that organizations should not hold back in soliciting donors, especially in competition with political campaigns. Foundation Guide also broke down whether or not political campaigns change giving patterns of donors, and started out their piece by saying by stating that no, political campaigns do not hinder charitable giving. While some may continue to debate the topic, 29 percent of NRC survey participants are re-working strategies and tactics because of the campaign.
  • Staffing: Finally, what may be the most significant planning topic: staffing. According to a report conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, more than 80 percent of fundraisers are satisfied with their current role, but half of them are likely to leave their position by 2021. As a result of this, organizations are adjusting accordingly, with 42 percent trying to account for staff changes and turnover.

NRC estimates that roughly 60 percent of organizations will report increased charitable receipts compared with 2018, and although lower than years prior, organizations are optimistic for the year ahead, focusing on increased donor relationships and giving.

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