January 19, 2011

A Good Omen for 2011 Fund Raising

In a sign that donors are feeling better about the economy, the number of American adults who said they plan to increase their contributions to charity this year increased to 18 percent, according to an annual survey.

In the past, the share of people who expected to increase donations was smaller. In 2009 and 2010, 14 percent planned to step up giving, and in 2008 just 8 percent forecast an increase.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults, commissioned by Dunham and Company, a Plano, Tex., fund-raising consulting company, was conducted this month.

Meanwhile, the share of people who said they would give less to charity in 2011 shrank to 14 percent in this year's survey, down from 27 percent (2009 and 2010) and 26 percent (2008).

To be sure, raising money is likely to continue to be difficult in 2011, coming off of a year in which contributions were flat, increasing by less than 1 percent in the fall, according to a study released this week by Blackbaud.

The Dunham survey also offers reason for concern:  The percentage of people who said they would give about the same this year as in 2010 grew to 66 percent, up from 55 percent (2010), 56 percent (2009), and 58 percent (2008).

Still, this  year's findings marked the first time since the survey was started in 2008 that the number of donors who plan an increase in charitable giving was greater than the number who said their donations would decline.

What are your fund-raising predictions for 2011?