Fundraisers’ outlook on giving mixed

Overall, fundraisers in the U.S. are optimistic about charitable giving this holiday season and beyond, but the feeling isn’t unanimous, a new study says.

Twice a year, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University surveys professional fundraisers about their views on the fundraising climate to compile its Philanthropic Giving Index, intended to serve as a barometer of the giving environment.

Based on the most recent survey, the climate for giving is good, at 88.8 on a scale of 0 to 100, up about 1.5 percent from six months ago and from one year ago.

The index for health-care fundraisers hit 95.2, an all-time high for the group, up 8.1 percent from a year ago, the study says, while the fields of human services, public benefit, environment/animal and international, optimism were nine points below average.

Although optimism overall is fairly high, almost half of respondents say the economy is hurting fundraising efforts, while fewer than three in 10 say the economy is helping, and feelings for both groups hold true for six month from now.

Outside fundraising consultants tend to be the most optimistic, but this year they are more somber than their on-staff counterparts, with seven in 10 consultants say the economy will hurt fundraising six months out.

The most recent survey by the center included questions specifically about planned giving and found the share of fundraisers reporting success with donor-advised funds has jumped to 52.8 percent from 32.5 percent.

Positive results from insurance policies and trusts were reported as well, with almost four in 10 planned-giving officers receiving between 5 and 20 trusts, annuities or insurance policies or donor-advised funds during the last two years.

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