Fundraising confidence at 10-year low

Nonprofit professionals are experiencing their lowest level of confidence in the U.S. fundraising climate in over a decade, says a new study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The Philanthropic Giving Index, akin to the Consumer Confidence Index in measuring confidence levels, is down nearly 22 percent in the past six months.

The index now stands at 64.8 on a scale of zero to 100, down from a previous 10-year low of 72.3 in summer 2003.

“More than 93 percent of fundraisers said the economy is having a negative impact on fundraising, including 28.5 percent who reported a very negative impact,” Una Osili, interim director of research at the center, says in a statement.

The study includes three indices measuring confidence on a scale from zero to 100, based on results of a semi-annual national survey of nonprofit fundraisers.

The Present Situation Index assesses the current giving environment, the Expectations Index gauges the climate for the next six months, and the overall Philanthropic Giving Index is an average of the two.

Confidence in the current fundraising environment dropped nearly 28 percent since the same time last year, and expectations for future fundraising fell more than 26 percent in that time period.

Fundraisers for human-services, public-benefit, environmental and international nonprofits exhibited the lowest confidence levels.

Fundraisers for health-related nonprofits, while still reporting a difficult fundraising climate, had a higher confidence level than fundraisers in any other type of organization.

Nonprofit professionals also exhibited changing levels of confidence in certain types of fundraising as a result of the faltering economy, the report says.

While the number of fundraisers reporting successful requests for major gifts dropped in the past year, more fundraisers reported success with planned giving.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University offers research, teaching and training programs with the goal of increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide.

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