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Americans voice support for nonprofits

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[Editor’s note: This is a revised version of an article first published on June 1.]

Americans are happy with the job nonprofits are doing and most plan to give the same amount or more to charity in 2010, a new survey says.

Eighty percent of 1,000 people surveyed for Fenton Communications by InsightExpress say their view of nonprofit performance is positive, with 53 percent saying they will give the same in 2010 as they did in 2009 and 36 percent saying they will give more, says the 2010 Fenton Forecast: Leadership and Effectiveness Among Nonprofits.

Yet among the 11 percent who say they plan to give less this year, 56 percent say they will cut donations by 25 percent or more, with those age 50 and older planning to reduce their giving the most.

“This is clearly a challenging time for nonprofits,” Rob Anderson, managing director of Fenton’s New York office and head of the firm’s corporate social responsibility practice, says in a statement.

Among people under age 35 who were surveyed, 54 percent say they plan to give more.

The top issues people look to nonprofits to address, the survey says, are reducing poverty, hunger and homelessness; curing illnesses; and preventing domestic violence.

The most important way people assess whether a nonprofit is doing a good job, the survey says, is by how well it manages its donated funds.

The public also is looking for nonprofits to provide fact-based and objective information about the issues it champions, the survey says.

Survey respondents rank traditional news outlets as the most credible sources of information, with social-media sites like Facebook ranking near the bottom.

Yet when asked how they themselves choose to share their opinmions on causes they care about, respondents rank Facebook as their number-one method.

Asked to rank the performance of 50 well-known nonprofits based on their effectiveness related to a number of leadership qualities, respondents gave the American Diabetes Association, Special Olympics and the American Red Cross the highest rankings.

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