Fundraising boost for US charities

Nearly 70 per cent of American charities raised more money in 2006 than in 2005, with almost a quarter reporting fundraising increases of more than 50 per cent.

The figures were revealed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals at its annual international conference in Dallas, Texas, yesterday.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents to the association’s 2006 State of Fundraising survey, which polled fundraisers in the US, reported an upturn in fundraising last year. The results represented a six-point increase on the previous year and topped the previous high of 65 per cent in 2004. Twenty-three per cent of charities reported fundraising increases of 50 per cent or higher, while 24 per cent experienced a drop.

Increases were also recorded in nearly every cause area, with environmental, public/social benefit and education charities faring best. Online fundraising was the technique that saw the biggest increase in revenue, with 88 per cent of charities raising more money by that method in 2006. Major gifts and special events also experienced big increases.

Paulette Maehara is president and chief executive of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which represents nearly 28,000 fundraising professionals across the world.

“Unlike past years, 2006 did not feature a major relief campaign for a natural disaster or a major significant charitable controversy,” she said. “In fact, gifts such as those made by Warren Buffett put philanthropy in a very positive spotlight, which certainly helped the giving environment.”

Megan Pacey, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, said it wasn’t clear from the survey whether more money had been given in 2006. “It might just be a case of money being spread around more evenly because of the lack of a big headline appeal,” she said. “In the UK public giving has been static for a number of years now,” she said.

However, she also said the US was a very different fundraising environment from the UK, so trends in the two countries did not necessarily coincide.

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