nonprofit giving“Take all these results together, and we are seeing the first slow-down in the rate of growth in charitable giving since the Recession of 2008 and 2009.” – Jason Lee, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals 

Should nonprofit executive directors, board members, and fundraisers be worried about the results of the latest report from TopNonprofits and Nonprofit Research Collaborative?


At the minimum, the report is an indication that organizations may have to keep a more careful eye and adapt to evolving giving and fundraising trends.

The research report, which you can download here, includes insights gleaned from both U.S. and Canadian organizations. The report is a must-read for nonprofits because it’s comprehensive and goes across all segments or verticals and sizes of organizations. It’s also one of the earliest reports to confirm what many charities are seeing for themselves in their fundraising efforts––the work is becoming tougher.

  • There’s a “statistically significant year-over-year decrease” concerning the percentage of organizations reporting increased fundraising from one year over the previous year.
  • There’s been a “significant drop, from 73 percent in 2015 to 68 percent in 2016,” in organizations that are meeting their fundraising goals.
  • There’s a recognition by those surveyed that nonprofits may be setting unrealistic fundraising goals. Additional fundraising challenges included groups that suspended the annual fund during a capital campaign and no contingency planning for any downturn in funding.
  • More than half of the nonprofits surveyed experienced an increase in the following revenue streams: major gifts, direct mail, online fundraising, special events, institutional fundraising and planned gifts.
  • There seems to be no correlation between how much is invested into fundraising and the end-result.
  • Of those organizations that met and surpassed their fundraising goals, they attributed it to leadership, strategy and planning, a professional fundraiser(s), and a systemic fundraising structure with policies and procedures.

If you’ve spent even a few years in philanthropy, you know things are changing––and fast. I encourage everyone who is a nonprofit leader or fundraiser to download the report.

Keep coming to this space where you’ll see more of my observations about the changing fundraising landscape. Candidly, I’m not surprised by a lot contained in the findings. I’ve heard the challenges from a lot of nonprofit leaders and donors. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you know that there are significant changes afoot; technology and social media are part of the biggest changes facing philanthropy and fundraising, but they’re not the only things affecting nonprofit organizations. Stay tuned.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Be Bold, Dominate and Succeed in Marketing For Today’s Digital World On A Limited Budget” (Free Digital Download)

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