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Survey tracks fundraising trends

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PJ staff report

Nonprofits are sticking with traditional “channels” of fundraising and communicating, facing growing scrutiny of their return on investment and organizational effectiveness, and increasingly focusing on “total supporter journey” rather than on traditional “donor management,” a new survey says.

Along with those big trends, fundraising is “emerging as a widely-recognized profession around the globe,” says The State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey, released by Blackbaud.

The survey, with responses from 2,383 individuals in the U.S. and nine other countries, says a majority of respondents from Canada and the U.S. expect increases in 2010 and 2011 in their organizations’ total income, income from charitable giving, and expense.

Most expect demand for services to grow, yet nearly half say staffing levels will stay flat.

While most groups still use traditional fundraising and communication channels, the survey says, they increasingly are using new interactive channels.

That use of new channels is putting a big strain on organizations because total revenue has not grown significantly, yet costs for each communication channel have increased.

With Baby Boomers becoming less trusting of government and institutions to solve problems they enter their prime giving years, the survey says, they and donors throughout the world want to see evidence that their money is being spent well and that nonprofits are being run as efficiently as possible.

And with greater focus on retaining donors, along with rising costs to acquire donor, managing relationships with constituents is shifting from “transactional” fundraising to a “relationship-focused support journey,” the survey says.

“To have a constituent-centric focus, nonprofits need to consolidate data on supporters and eliminate silos so everyone in the organization has the same view of the many ways supporters interact with their organization,” Blackbaud says in a statement. “Technology is essential for helping them track the supporter journey, from service recipient to volunteer to event participant to donor.”

The survey also says the vast majority of nonprofits throughout the world expect to invest more in fundraising staff.

“It is clear that fundraising is no longer someone’s ‘part-time’ responsibility,”  Blackbaud says. “Techniques and data are becoming more complex, and the rate of change is increasing. What was once mostly art is rapidly becoming science, requiring new tools and techniques, partnerships and better skilled staff.”

The survey looks in detail at the broad areas of general operations, fundraising, technology and internet use, and accountability and stewardship.

“There is an increasing interest in the nonprofit sector in improving governance, planning, and fundraising, and investing in training and equipment to enhance organizational performance,” Amy Comer, director of market research at Blackbaud, says in a statement.

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