News and analysis
December 07, 2015

Demand for Results Dampens Fundraising, Survey Says

Title: Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Survey

Organization: Marks Paneth

Summary: Fifty three percent of nonprofit leaders said it’s possible for their organizations to report a defined social return on investment within a year of a donor’s gift. However, 47 percent of those surveyed said such expectations by donors are making it harder to raise money.

Furthermore, the majority of donors do not allow their gifts to be used to help pay the costs of measuring results, survey respondents said. Only 19 percent said their supporters let them use part of a donation for that purpose.

Marks Paneth, an accounting firm that advises nonprofit clients, used online questionnaires and interviews to survey 114 nonprofit leaders, including chief financial officers and board members. Among the other findings:

  • Thirty-five percent of respondents said email-fundraising campaigns are not an effective replacement for direct-mail appeals. And 82 percent said they are concerned that increased dependence on digital fundraising is hampering their ability to communicate effectively with their supporters.
  • Crowdfunding is having a growing influence on organizations. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said nonprofits like theirs take cues from how crowdfunding sites raise money. Twelve percent said their groups raise money on such external sites, while another 25 percent said they plan to.
  • A more traditional channel of raising money, holding galas, still has fans: Fifty-two percent of nonprofit leaders said the approach is productive. But slightly more people (27 percent) said such events are more valuable as donor-engagement activities than as fundraisers. One in 10 respondents said they’re rethinking the use of galas because of the considerable staff time required to plan them.
  • Thirty-nine percent of the leaders expect to see more organizations in their segment of the nonprofit world merging in the next five years.

Send an email to Heather Joslyn.