Chronicle of Philanthropy Report on Fundraising

Donations Dropped 11% at Nation’s Biggest Charities (Article Here)

By Noelle Barton and Holly Hall

The Chronicle of Philanthropy started its Philanthropy 400 ranking of organizations that raise the most from private sources.Those 400 institutions raised $68.6-billion in 2009. In 2010 they collectively suffered a drop off of %11. According to the article, the last time there was a large annual decrease was after 2001, during another recession, but that decrease was just 2.8%.

Among the 10 charities that raised the most last year, six reported declines. United Way Worldwide, the largest fundraiser, decreased by 4.5%  and the Salvation Army, the 2nd largest, decreased by 8.4%.

This is troubling information for those of us in the fund raising field. Although it is not unexpected.  We knew there was a major financial collapse in 2o08, sending the economy into a recession.  And because of that earning power suffered, which thus means donations to charitable groups will suffer.

In times like these, the best thing to do is simply ignore the macro trends.  Of course we all know the economy is suffering at the moment.  And we can thus predict that charitable giving will suffer as well.

But that information isn’t going to help your organization improve.  It is better to look at the entire economy as a living, breathing organism.  At the moment, the economy is exhaling, and releasing a lot of toxins.  Within the time, the economy is going to inhale again, and momentum will again be carried upward.

Instead, at this moment, you should focus on how to be more effective, more efficient, and how to maximize current resources. Just because the economy is hurting doesn’t mean that all individuals are hurting.

Get out there and meet with your most loyal donors.  Let them understand that right now is the time when you need them most.  Talk to your Board Members. Make them realize that this is the time to step up.  There is still money out there. The economy hasn’t stopped.

The most important thing you can do is focus on what’s good, and not focus on the bad.  So many times that negative thinking can lead an organization astray.  It’s not productive to worry. It’s the time to get proactive.

The TOP 400 Ranking Charities – http://philanthropy.com/premium/stats/philanthropy400/index.php

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