Wednesday, September 6

Is your fundraiser smiling?

A recent study reported that fundraisers are more optimism about the current economic environment (than they have been in the past) and they are more optimistic on their ability to surpass future financial predictions.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University publishes a Philanthropic Giving Index (PGI) which is similar to a Consumer Confidence Index for charitable giving. It includes three indexes, on a scale from 0 to 100, based on a semiannual national survey of fundraisers.

The Present Situation Index gauges the current giving environment. The Expectations Index assesses the climate for the next six months, and the overall PGI is an average of the current and future indexes. While some of you were off tanning, you might have missed the report's publication on August 15th. The overall PGI report is online. Here are the highlights:

* This summer, the overall PGI was 88.9, increasing from 86.3 in December 2005 and up from 85.2 in Summer 2005.

* One-third (33 percent) of those surveyed reported success with Internet solicitations for donations, more than at any time in the history of the PGI.

* Only 28.6 percent said last fall’s relief giving came at the expense of giving to their own organization, while 53.8 percent said it did not.

* Respondents to the survey noted that higher gas and energy prices, the continued war in Iraq, and falling housing prices in parts of the U.S. contribute to donor uncertainty with the economy, but most felt that the economy will positively impact fundraising in the next six months.

The figure below shows a comparison the optimism fundraisers predicted in December 2005, compared to how they feel now. Only three categories of fundraising did not have the same optimism today as it did six months prior. Email, telephone, and planned giving all had modest declines. While direct mail, internet, foundation grants, corporate gifts, major gifts, and special events campaigns had higher average success scores than predicted.

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