Fundraising jumps in 2006

The majority of charities in the U.S. raised more money last year than the year before, and many saw increases of 50 percent or more, a new study says.

Almost seven in 10 nonprofits reported increases in year-over-year fundraising, and one in four saw their take jump by half or more, says the 2006 State of Fundraising Survey, published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Another three in 10 say their fundraising grew from 1 percent to 20 percent, while fewer than one in four groups reported a drop in funds raised.

The biggest winners were groups focusing on the environment, public/society benefit and education, the study says, with charities in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific faring better than their counterparts in other regions.

All fundraising channels saw double-digit growth in 2006, with online appeals raising 88 percent more than the year before, and major gifts up 20 percent.

But the challenges facing fundraisers diverged from previous year, when the top obstacles cited were the economy and competition for philanthropic resources.

In 2006, internal problems rose to the top, with most fundraisers citing staffing issues in the development office and organizational leadership as the most pressing challenges.

But most remain optimistic about the fundraising environment next year, with two in three respondents expecting to raise more in 2007 than in 2006, and fewer than one in 10 anticipating decreases.

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