Takeaways From the Year-End Nonprofit Fundraising Survey

Last year over 1,300 organizations responded to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s year-end Nonprofit Fundraising Survey (NFS). This annual report collects data on everything from overall sector growth, to fundraising goals, to regional data, to projections for the future. It’s thorough, to say the least. Lucky for you, we went through the 48-page report so you don’t have to (but if looking at graphs is your thing, you can check it out here.)

Here are some major takeaways:

General growth

To start, the majority—63 percent—of responding organizations reported an increase in their charitable receipts, and one-fifth of organizations saw an increase of at least 15 percent. Unlike every year before 2016, the study also found that the size of the organization did not affect its success rate. nonprofits making less than $1 million per year were just as likely to increase their funds as those making $50 million or more.

What did differ, however, was the giving trends by region. In the Midwest and Northeast, 59 and 58 percent of the organizations, respectively, saw increases putting these regions under the 63 percent average. Meanwhile, 66 percent of charities in the South and 70 percent of charities in the West saw above average growth.

Meeting fundraising goals

In 2017, 75 percent of participants said their organization met its fundraising goal—the highest success rate since the NFS began. Smaller organizations, similar to previous years, were less likely to reach their goals. there’s some good news, though: the gap is closing. Last year, nonprofits making less than $1 million were only 13 percentage points (69 percent) behind the $50 million+ category (82 percent)— a drastic improvement from the 22 percent gap the year before. “If survey respondents are representative of the entire sector, this could indicate positive news for charities with operating budgets below $1 million,” the report said.

Unlike the overall growth statistics, whether a nonprofit met its fundraising goal had little to do with its region. Seventy percent of organizations in the Midwest met their goals compared to 78 percent in the West, but the study states that this gap is not “statistically significant.”

How has 2018 stacked up?

At the end of the report, the NSF asked charities to predict what their fundraising would look like in 2018. Fifty percent of organizations anticipated funds to increase between 1 and 15 percent, and another 11 percent projected even more growth than that. One-third predicted that their fundraising results would remain unchanged, and 18 percent anticipated losses. The other 6 percent of charities said it was too hard to say.

We’ll have to wait until the next study is released in April 2019 to find out if these predictions are correct. But until then, we can rejoice at the fact that these statistics, if representative of the entire sector, show overall positive trends and high success rates in the nonprofit world.

year-end nonprofit fundraising

Hannah Trull

Hannah is a Content Strategist for Nonprofit Hub. On top of being a regular blog contributor, she serves as the social media manager and writes for all other content channels.

November 7, 2018

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