Giving outlook rosy

U.S. fundraisers say the climate for soliciting donations is strong and will continue to improve, a new report says.

The Philanthropic Giving Index, released in August by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, says optimism increased 4.3 percent over last summer.

The index, which the center compares to the consumer price index, measures the giving environment by gauging fundraising professionals’ current and future levels of optimism.

The Present Situation Index, which increased 5.3 percent over last year, measures the current giving environment and the Expectations Index, which grew 3.4 percent, assess the climate over the next six months.

Together, those indices make up the overall Philanthropic Giving Index, which now stands at 88.9 on a scale of 0 to 100.

Respondents are almost equally split on the immediate effects of giving in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Just over four in 10 say giving in the immediate aftermath of the disasters hurt the fundraising efforts of other nonprofits, while a roughly-equal number report no impact.

At the same time, fewer than three in 10 say their own organizations were negatively affected in the immediate aftermath, and fewer than one in 10 say the negative effects persist today.

One in three of the nonprofit development executives and fundraising consultants surveyed say they have had success using online solicitations, but most say it is the least-effective form of fundraising, the report says.

Personal solicitations remain the most effective, respondents say, with almost nine in 10 reporting success in major-gift efforts and more than three in four claiming success in planned giving.

Health groups and arts, culture and humanities organizations are the least likely to be conducting capital campaigns currently, the report says, religious groups are most likely.

The report is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

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