Center on Philanthropy Index Shows Nonprofit Fundraisers Are Less Optimistic

Center on Philanthropy Index Shows Nonprofit Fundraisers Are Less Optimistic

Nonprofits are somewhat less optimistic about the current and future fundraising climate than they were six months and a year ago, the latest edition of the Philanthropic Giving Index (PGI) from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.

Based on a semi-annual national survey of nonprofit fundraising professionals, the PGI includes three fundraising measures — overall PGI, the Present Situation Index, and the Expectations Index — scored on a 0 to 100 scale. In the latest survey, the overall PGI was 82.8, a decline of 6 percent since December 2007 and 4.7 percent year-over-year; the Present Situation Index was 81.7, a decline of 6.3 percent from six months ago and 3.7 percent year-over-year; and the Expectations Index was 83.9, a 5.8 percent decline from both six months and a year ago.

With the exception of direct mail, respondents indicated that they have experienced less success with all types of fundraising techniques in the first half of 2008 than they had projected in December. The survey also found that respondents identified the current economic troubles — including rising unemployment, lower corporate profits, a falling stock market, and rising gas prices — as a significant factor influencing giving, with only 0.7 percent of fundraisers saying the economy is having a positive effect on giving, down from 28 percent six months ago. Indeed, only 15 percent predicted the economy will have a more positive impact on the fundraising climate six months from now, while 62.7 percent said its impact will remain negative.

"We now know that concerns about the economy have affected perceptions of the charitable giving climate, and previous research shows that giving grows more slowly during these times," said Eugene R. Tempel, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy. "However, many donors still want to give. Nonprofits should take this opportunity to diversify their funding sources, create or strengthen their major gift programs, and find new ways to communicate the impact of their missions on those they serve."