Charities Predict Stagnant or Declining End-of-Year Fundraising

GuideStar annual survey reveals nonprofits held their own in the first three quarters of 2005 but fear "Katrina effect" for giving season.
Release date: November 17, 2005

Williamsburg, Va., and Washington, D.C.—Nearly 80 percent of charitable organizations anticipate that the year's natural disasters will cause end-of-year contributions to remain at or decrease from 2004 levels, a new survey by GuideStar, the public charity that connects people with nonprofit information, reveals.

Representatives of more than 3,900 organizations participated in GuideStar's fourth annual nonprofit economic survey in October. Asked how they thought giving to disaster relief would affect contributions to their nonprofits for the rest of 2005, 41 percent said they believed contributions would stay about the same as last year, 38 percent reported that they expected contributions to drop, 4 percent anticipated an increase, and 17 percent stated they didn't know.

Nonprofits in the crime and legal category, which includes abuse prevention and legal assistance programs, were most likely to predict declining contributions. Food and agricultural organizations, such as food banks, were second-most likely to do so.

The survey shows that nonprofits held their own from January to September 2005, despite widespread giving to tsunami relief and Hurricane Katrina and Rita recovery. Some 49 percent of participants reported that contributions to their organizations increased during the first nine months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. Another 26 percent said that contributions stayed about the same, 22 percent stated they had decreased, and 3 percent did not know. These results are remarkably similar to those from the 2004 survey, suggesting that contributions to disaster-relief efforts had little effect on overall giving during the first three-quarters of this year.

"After 9/11, donors supported disaster relief in addition to, rather than instead of, their regular giving," said Robert G. Ottenhoff, GuideStar's president and CEO. "The results from the first nine months of this year give us reason to hope that this may prove true again this year. Many charities, however, receive the majority of their contributions at the end of the year. For those organizations, what happens between now and December 31 will make or break their budgets and determine whether 2005 is a good or bad year for them."

About the Survey

GuideStar e-mailed 58,327 messages inviting GuideStar Newsletter subscribers associated with public charities and private foundations to participate in the survey; 4,483, or 8 percent, of these individuals took the survey on-line between October 11 and 26, 2005. The participants represented at least 3,949 charitable organizations. To obtain a copy of the survey report or request results for a particular location, contact GuideStar's director of communications, Suzanne Coffman, at 757-229-4631, ext. 27.

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, offers information about the programs and finances of more than 1.7 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar promotes public disclosure for and about tax-exempt organizations in order to help people connect with information about America's nonprofit community. With this information, donors of all kinds can make more informed giving decisions. To find out more about GuideStar, go to

News Contact

Suzanne E. Coffman
Director of Communications
757-229-4631, ext. 27