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Allyson Kapin 5 min read

New Study: Donations Grow at Slow Pace

Nonprofits raised $298.4 billion in 2011, according Giving USA, one of the largest studies conducted in the nonprofit sector. While $298.4 billion might seem like a lot of money, it’s only about 2% of the GDP. The study also shows how much charities are still struggling to raise money in a bad economy. Charitable giving only grew by 0.9%. At this rate, philanthropic giving would not recover until 2022, said Patrick Rooney, Executive Director of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, which coordinates the Giving USA study.

Report Highlights:

The study also revealed a:

  • 9% decline in donations to foundations, indicating that the wealthiest people in the U.S. are feeling strapped for cash and donating less money.
  • 3% decrease in donations by corporations.
  • 4.4% increase in donations by aid and relief organizations
  • 1.4% increase in donations by environmental groups.
  • 5% decrease in donations to religious organizations.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy who interviewed fundraising staff at over 40 nonprofits, 2012 giving will remain steady, with little growth expected. While that is not good news for nonprofits, there are fundraising strategies you can utlilize to start raising more money.

Tips to Raise More Money in 2012

1. Tell a story in a fundraising message that appeals to people's empathy. Why? Because people are ruled by their emotions when it comes to donating money. Be careful not to overload supporters with a lot of data and facts as studies show that it can supress donation rates.

2. Frame your fundraising appeal around one person, not several. People are more likely to donate money when you show them a single person in need VS several people, according to Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University and author of the book The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. Why? Because people emotionally connect person to person not to thousands or millions of people at a time. They also feel that their donation can make a difference in that person's life.

3. Show supporters their impact. Paull Young of charity: water says one of the reasons they have raised an estimated $60 million in the past 5 years is because they show donors exactly where their donations are going. Donors can track their donations by going to the charity: water website and viewing which village water well they funded via GPS, photos, and videos.

4. Don't always ask for money. Many nonprofits are so focused on raising money and meeting their budgets, they often don't treat their donors as important stakeholders in the organization. Your donors are a critical part of your community and want to be a part of your organization fighting for social change. Show them how they can help you meet your mission through actions, volunteer opportunities, social events, etc. Give them several paths to engage with your organization and make them feel like they are a valuable part of your mission. And of course you can ask them for money along the way.



Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.