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Charities and Software Firms Partner on Groundbreaking Charitable Giving Survey

Document date: November 16, 2006
Released online: November 16, 2006

Contact: Stu Kantor, (202) 261-5283, skantor@ui.urban.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2006—An annual Fundraising Effectiveness Survey is being launched by a partnership of research, charitable, professional, and service organizations to help nonprofits increase overall charitable giving from current and potential donors.

All U.S. nonprofits are invited to participate in the survey, which can be found at http://websurveyor.net/wsb.dll/33613/fepsurvey.htm. The debut survey, which started November 1, asks charities to compare their 2004 and 2005 fundraising results. Participation is free.

"For decades, research has indicated enormous untapped giving potential in the United States," said Elizabeth Boris, director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. "Until now, fundraisers, CEOs, and board members have lacked the performance data they need to make informed, growth-oriented budget decisions that can accelerate giving. This new tool will show them where and how they can most effectively invest their development dollars."

The survey will fill the data gap by measuring fundraising gains and losses in categories that have not been the focus of earlier studies-new donors, lapsed donors, and donors who have increased or decreased their gifts.

The survey is the initial activity of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), which is also working on fundraising data standards and performance indicators. FEP's sponsors are the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and the National Committee on Planned Giving.

Software Firms Lend Support

So far, a dozen donor software firms have agreed to assist their clients with the survey:

Blackbaud (Raiser's Edge) MatchMaker FundRaising Software
Donor2/Campus Management Corporation Metafile (Resultsplus)
DonorOne (ResourceOne Technologies) Mission Research (GiftWorks)
DonorPerfect Fundraising Software PledgeMaker (SofTrek)
eTapestry Sage Software
FundTrack Software Telosa Software (Exceed!)

Collectively, these companies serve more than 50,000 nonprofit clients. The FEP sponsors are encouraging all firms to alert their clients to the survey and provide help as needed.

"Our software colleagues and their services are essential links between fundraisers and donors and can help make fundraising more effective," said Cathy Williams, project director and vice president for research at AFP. "Their assistance is vital -- and much appreciated -- as their clients seek to extract the needed information from donor databases."

According to Williams, working with the donor software community will increase charities' response rate many times over, greatly improve the accuracy of the data gathered, provide significant savings in data-entry and other costs associated with completing the survey, and speed data analysis.

Bill Levis, project manager and senior associate at the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, noted that nonprofits will be able to compare their growth-in-giving results across a variety of measures with the performance of similar organizations. These measures include total amount raised, average gift size, type of organization, age of development program, location, fundraising budget, and staff size, as well as combinations of these criteria. In subsequent surveys, the FEP plans to collect more detailed information, including costs (by fundraising method) and gift type (annual, capital, and planned gifts).

All the information survey respondents provide will be kept strictly confidential and will be reported in aggregate form only. Survey results will be published on the Urban Institute and AFP web sites.

The survey for 2005-2006 is expected to begin in February 2007. Repeat survey participants will be asked to update their 2004-2005 data while new participants will have to provide data for 2004-2005 and for 2005-2006.

Questions or requests for FEP's concept paper can be directed to Bill Levis (qrlevis@aol.com) or Cathy Williams (cwilliams@afpnet.org).

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project Sponsors

The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) at the Urban Institute conducts and disseminates research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. CNP also charts and analyzes trends in the operations and finances of U.S. charitable organizations with data developed and maintained by its National Center for Charitable Statistics and other sources. The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization. More information can be found at http://www.urban.org/center/cnp and http://www.nccs.urban.org.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals represents nearly 28,000 members in 180 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy and ethical fundraising through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs. The Association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to http://www.afpnet.org.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy, improving its practice, and enhancing philanthropic participation through research, teaching, public service, and public affairs. The Center is the home for the Fund Raising School, which is the premier international university-based education and training program for fundraisers. Founded in 1987, the Center is a part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses. For more information, go to http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.

The mission of the National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG) is to increase the quality and quantity of charitable planned gifts by serving as the voice and professional resource for the gift planning community. NCPG is the preeminent association for professionals in the charitable gift planning field. More information can be found at http://www.ncpg.org.

Topics/Tags: | Nonprofits

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