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Skagit Valley Hospital

Is Charitable Giving Back on the Rise?

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When Giving USA reported last summer that overall giving had decreased in 2009, many wondered how long this trend would continue and how philanthropy will be affected during the long, slow recovery period.

Last week Guidestar shared encouraging results from its November 2010 Fundraising Survey.  The survey shows more organizations are reporting increased contributions for the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same time period in 2009. However, as the graph below shows, nearly the same percentage of organizations reported that giving was up as those that reported giving was down. Larger organizations (those with annual expenses of $1 million or greater) were more likely to report increased contributions.

The study also shares that organizations are feeling cautiously optimistic about giving for the end of 2010 and starting into 2011. Of the organizations who receive the bulk of contributions in the last quarter of the year, 36 percent predict that contributions received during the fourth quarter of 2010 will exceed those from the last quarter of 2009 and 43 percent expect end-of-year contributions to be about the same as last year. Only 22 percent anticipate that end-of-year contributions will be lower. Additionally, most organizations were hopeful about 2011. About 47 percent planned budget increases and only 20 percent anticipated a lower budget for 2011.

At The Collins Group, we know that overall charitable giving is influenced by major campaigns – whether for capital, program expansion, or endowment fundraising. In 2009, few major campaigns were launched and there was a significant decrease in the number of campaign feasibility studies being conducted in our region and around the country.

Our firm’s experience this year also holds promise for increased giving in our region for 2011. We have conducted more feasibility studies in the fall of 2010 than in all of 2009, and many have come back with positive results. Several of our clients will launch campaigns next year – donors are ready and invested in their visions and strategic initiatives.

It may be slow-going, but I am hopeful that philanthropy will help signal confidence that economic recovery is underway. The results of these investments will undoubtedly help our communities bounce back.

What has your organization experienced this year? Are you hopeful about this giving season, or 2011? We’d love to hear from you.

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About the Author

Natalie Lamberjack

Natalie Lamberjack CFRE

Senior Consultant

Natalie dials into the needs of her clients by keeping a calm eye on the big picture view of the nonprofit sector.

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