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Number of donors declines

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The overall number of people donating to charity dropped over the past year, but relief groups appear to have held on to some of the donors they acquired after the Asian tsunami in late 2004, a new study says.

The “Index of National Fundraising Performance,” released by the Target Analysis Group, analyzed transaction data representing almost $2 billion given to 68 charities by almost 40 million donors from mid-2005 to mid-2006.

While the number of people donating money during that period dropped 2.5 percent, giving remained essentially flat due to an average increase in contribution amount of 3 percent, the study says.

The decline in contributors is due to a drop in acquisition of new donors as well as a drop in retention of existing donors and a decline in the reactivation of multi-year donors, the study says.

Much of that was expected in the wake of the dramatic increases in disaster giving seen in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes and Pakistani earthquake of 2005, the report says.

While revenues for the entire charitable sector grew about 8 percent from the third quarter of 2004, just before the Asian tsunami, to mid-2006, relief charities saw cumulative growth of 51 percent over that period.

That suggests relief charities were able to keep a large portion of the donors and contributions they received after the tsunami, the study says.

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