Survey: Fundraising Organizations See Record Jump in 2021 from 2020

Fundraising organizations experienced the largest one-year improvement in funds raised in the 10-year history of the Michigan Fundraising Climate Survey from Montgomery Consulting Inc. in Huntington Woods.
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Charitable giving appears to be on the upswing after a slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. // Stock Photo
Charitable giving appears to be on the upswing after a slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. // Stock Photo

Fundraising organizations experienced the largest one-year improvement in funds raised in the 10-year history of the Michigan Fundraising Climate Survey from Montgomery Consulting Inc. in Huntington Woods.

A majority of this year’s respondents (59 percent) reported that their organizations raised more money in 2021 than they had in 2020. There also was “healthy,” growth in the proportion of respondents reporting improved year-over-year fundraising results.

“This compares very favorably to what respondents told us last year when just 22 percent reported raising more money than in the previous year (2020 vs. 2019),” the survey says. “In fact, that jump from 22 percent in to 59 percent is the largest positive one-year change in the history of the Michigan Fundraising Climate Survey.”

Looking at longer term trends (2017-2022), there had been a very gradual increase in the proportion of respondents reporting raising more money each year until the pandemic hit and led our 2021 survey to show a sharp decline. But recovery was quick, according to Montgomery Consulting, and the 2022 results showed not only that recovery but a return to the longer-term trend.

Although the year-over-year results show improvement, it’s still difficult to raise money.

“Despite dramatic growth in the proportion of respondents reporting raising more money, about one third of respondents still indicated that their organization had not met its 2021 fundraising goal,” the survey report reads. “The longer-term picture, however, has been very slow growth in the proportion of organizations meeting their fundraising goals. Fewer respondents reported that their organizations added donors than on last year’s survey,” Montgomery Consulting reports.

This is a newer question appearing for just the third time, but a trend might be developing. When respondents reporting “many more,” “more,” and “about the same” (number of donors) are combined to create a measure for those reporting their organization had “at least as many donors,” a possible pattern — of decline in the number of donors — starts to become evident: 2020: 82 percent, 2021: 81 percent, 2022: 71 percent.

Still, respondents are optimistic about the future.

“Respondents were more optimistic about the current fundraising climate this year than they were last year,” the survey says. “This year, 33 percent of our panel members expected Michigan’s fundraising climate to improve in comparison to just 22 percent expecting improvement last year. More important, our respondents were much more optimistic than in 2020. That year, we administered this part of our survey twice; first (2020-I), just prior to the pandemic’s onset; second (2020-II), during the April 2020 “lock down” when many respondents seemed near despair.”

To review the full results of the survey, visit here.

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