Friday, January 8, 2010

Economic Volatility Spurs Year-End Flurry of Donations

Yesterday's Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that early indications suggest that December brought mixed results for charity fund raising.

While many nonprofit groups reported significant drops that could force them to cut even deeper into the services they provide, other charities are reporting that they did well in December, with some doing better than they had anticipated, thanks to an unusually large number of donors who waited to give until just before the clock turned to midnight on January 1.

According to The Chronicle,

Catholic Charities USA, the national office that represents local Catholic Charities affiliates, had expected to fall several million dollars short of its $7.1-million goal for the year. But giving rallied at the end of December: Donations grew 21 percent that month compared with the same time last year, and the number of donors grew by 30 percent. Catholic Charities USA has so far recorded $6.6-million for 2009 and is still processing gifts.

The Chronicle continues:

Scott Nichols, vice president of development and alumni relations at Boston University, where giving rose slightly this December compared with last, said donors are waiting longer to make gifts because of the economy’s volatility.

“People are so influenced by headlines and whether there will be a new short-term meltdown that will make them worry,” he said. “What used to be an October-November-December peak period became a November-December period, and it’s even been condensed now to the last two weeks of December.”

However, many charities noted disturbing signs: donors who could not fulfill their pledges, fewer unrestricted gifts, and loyal donors giving smaller amounts than before the recession.


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