NRC Update: Strong Fundraising Continued Through 2018

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of surveyed charitable nonprofits reported meeting their fundraising goals for 2018, according to a new report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC); 63 percent of organizations reported raising more in total than the previous year, continuing 2017’s trend of strong fundraising results.

“This survey confirms what we found with Giving USA 2019 — our giving climate is increasingly complex, evolving in a number of different ways, and organizations have probably not yet felt the full impact of tax law changes,” said Rick Dunham, chair of the Giving USA Foundation, which is one of the members of the NRC, and founder of Dunham+Company.

Environmental and Animal groups supplanted Higher Education organizations as most likely to meet their fundraising goal, with 89 percent succeeding in raising their planned amounts, followed by Religious organizations (83%). Arts and Public Benefit organizations were the least likely to report meeting their fundraising goal (65 percent and 68 percent, respectively), with Education, Health, and Human Services organizations each reporting between 70 and 79 percent.

For the first time since 2016, organization size was a factor in charitable receipts. Mid-size organizations (operating budgets of $3M to $49.99M) were most likely to report an increase in amounts raised while the number of small and large organizations reporting an increase did not vary dramatically.

The Winter 2019 NRC survey also asked for predictions about 2019. Among all survey participants in both the U.S. and Canada, 60 percent project another good year for fundraising, with 45 percent predicting a 15 percent increase in charitable receipts.

The NRC conducts surveys twice a year. Reports are available at http://bit.ly/NRCw2019 (www.npresearch.org then under Findings & Reports). This survey was conducted online and respondents form a convenience sample. There is no margin of error, as it is not a random sample of the population studied. Reported results are statistically significant using chi-square analysis.

Some 22 percent of respondents anticipate raising fewer funds in 2019, citing concerns over small staff sizes; donor acquisition, retention and cultivation; and the economy overall. Changes to the U.S. tax law, which were expected to have an effect on giving in 2018, remained a concern, despite donors surveyed by the NRC reporting no statistically significant change in giving based on reported tax deduction status.

“Hiring qualified fundraising staff has long been a concern for nonprofits. This data shows it remains top of mind, especially for smaller organizations. That’s why hiring decision-makers must evaluate potential fundraising staff on their professional track records, including keeping up on continuing education, participating in professional associations, and earning certifications such as the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential,” according to Eva Aldrich, Ph.D., CAE, CEO & President of CFRE International.