ABOUT THE STUDY
THREE-QUARTERS OF CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS ARE
ON-TRACK TO MEET YEAR-END FUNDRAISING GOALS:
A majority use “multi-channel” fundraising to reach all ages of donors
Indianapolis, IN: Three-quarters (75%) of surveyed charitable nonprofits reported
being on-track to meet 2017 fundraising goals as of mid-year, according to the
Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC). The NRC began in 2010 and the result for
2017 is the highest percentage on track. Many organizations receive a significant
share of their funding in the last quarter of the year. Nonetheless, nearly six in 10
(57%) of participating charitable nonprofits reported that receipts as of mid-year
exceeded the prior year’s result at the same time. This is also a strong result for the
“Since 2011, year-end charitable receipts have increased at more organizations
than report growth mid-year. On average by December 9% more charities see
growth than reported growth in the summer,” according to Annie de Cossey,
Principal at Opus Advisors and Chair of the Association of Philanthropic Counsel, a
member of the NRC. “If this holds true for 2017, NRC projects we will see another
banner year in charitable fundraising in the U.S. and Canada.”
SOME COMMUNICATIONS METHODS USED TO REACH SPECIFIC AGE GROUPS
“Experts in fundraising talk about how customized messaging improves results.
This study finds that three-quarters of study participants used at least one approach
intended to help them reach a specific generation or age cohort,”
says Amy DeVita, managing partner of TopNonprofits, also an NRC sponsor. “It is vital for organizations to recognize that one message, or even one delivery channel, does not fit all.”
The methods studied by the NRC range from including photographs (used by 78% of
responding organizations that did anything at all to customize communications) to
organizing a “Young Professionals” group (reported by 32% of the respondents who
customized communications in some way). One of the most frequent age-focused approaches is planned giving. Of the 61% of charities that use planned giving, 37% deliberately market planned gift opportunities to people age 70 and over, and 42%
market planned giving specifically to reach Boomers.
“This study finds charitable organizations are doing a good job discussing planned
giving with donors over age 55,” says Michael Kenyon, President and CEO of the
National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, another NRC sponsor. “Other
studies show people make their first will in their late 40s or early 50s. Charities
might want to consider asking long-term Gen X donors about including the charity in
an estate plan.”
In the three-quarters of survey participants that used any type of age-focused
method, about 4 in 10 (42%) create different messages based on the donor’s age.
Within that sub-set of 42%, reaching Millennials (ages 22 to 27) was the most
frequent goal, reported by 36% of those that do create distinct messages. Just over
one-quarter (27%) prepared messaging intended to reach Generation X, 32%
sought to appeal to Boomers, and 28% crafted content for “Matures” (age 70 and
SMALLER CHARITIES AND HEALTH CHARITIES USING INNOVATIVE
Smaller responding charities, with budgets under $1 million, were more likely than
larger groups to gifts via social payment services (e.g., PayPal, Venmo). They were
also more likely to host events for families and to seek leaders age 40 and under.
Health charities were most likely to use a wide range of different communications
methods, from the 94% that said they post twice a week or more to Facebook to
56% that accept social payments. Human services charities were least likely to use
the different methods intentionally to appeal to different age groups.
These percentages are based on 838 respondents that offered information about
which methods they use at all and which they used to reach different age groups.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) conducts surveys twice a year. Reports
are available at www.NPResearch.org (the new report will be available October 30,
This survey was conducted online and respondents form a convenience sample.
There is no margin of error, as it is not a random sample of the population studied.
Reported results are statistically significant using chi-square analysis.
ABOUT THE NONPROFIT RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE (NRC)
The NRC is a coalition of fundraising and charitable organizations dedicated to
gathering and analyzing the most accurate data possible to help charities become
more effective at fundraising. NRC partners are the Association of Fundraising
Professionals; Association of Fundraising Counsel; CFRE International; Giving USA
Foundation; the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners; and TopNonprofits.