Giving returns to pre-disaster levels

The U.S. fundraising environment appears to have absorbed the spike in giving fueled by the natural disasters of 2005 and returned to expected levels, a new report says.

Americans gave an unprecedented amount in 2005 in response to the tsunami in East Asia and the Gulf Coast hurricanes, enough to create a significant lift in revenue for the year, says the Quarterly Index of Fundraising Performance published by Target Analysis Group.

Most disaster-related giving was completed by the first quarter of 2006, leading to a correction that caused a drop in revenue and donors for the year.

But numbers for the first quarter of 2007 indicate a return to pre-disaster giving levels, the report says, increasing 2 percent over the first quarter of 2006.

Given that level of increase, which is typical of pre-disaster growth, Target concludes its index was “essentially unaffected” by disaster giving.

However, the downward trend in the number of donor continued in early 2007, with a median drop of almost 1 percent in the first quarter.

That’s due primarily to a decline in new donors of 4.1 percent over the same period, the report says.

While increases in revenue per donor have kept overall fundraising in positive territory, the report warns that rising inflation could erode that progress.

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