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Blackbaud shares State of the Not-For-Profit Industry Survey results

Howard Lake | 15 October 2008 | News

Blackbaud Europe today shared its findings from its 2008 European State of the Not-For-Profit Industry (SONI) Survey at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland.
For the first time, the survey incorporates results from the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The SONI survey’s major findings are broken down into four categories: General Operations; Fundraising, Technology and Internet Usage; and Accountability and Stewardship.
The Netherlands reported the greatest optimism for income in 2008 with a 78% expected increase. However, all three European countries were more optimistic in their organisations’ financial outlook in 2009. The survey was conducted nine or 10 months into the current credit crunch economic crisis but before the banking collapses of the past few weeks.
The UK reported an expected 71% increase in total income, compared to 62% in Germany and 86% in the Netherlands.
All three countries anticipated increased demand for their services. However, each country’s staffing increase outlooks for both 2008 and 2009 are similar and lower. This suggests that organisations expect that either existing staff will be more productive and/or use of technology will decrease the need for more staff.
Andrew Mosawi, Blackbaud’s vice president of international business development, said: “Not only do the findings provide an overview of information for not-for-profits to better benchmark their operations, but the survey has also unearthed a large amount of very relevant data. We are looking forward to conducting an in-depth analysis with our partners at The Resource Alliance to draw some further insight into the findings.”
The survey was distributed and administered online from 23 May to 20 June 2008 in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. Surveys were widely distributed via industry newsletters, targeted emails from associations, and emails to Blackbaud clients. There were a total of 466 respondents.
All countries’ respondents expected online donations to increase: in the Netherlands it was 57% of respondents, 51% in Germany, and 45% in the UK. The main areas of fundraising were special events, major donor cultivation, and direct mail. Committed giving was highlighted as the common thread between the not-for-profits surveyed.
The importance of online communications with donors was confirmed: 67% of UK, 54% of German, and 40% of Dutch respondents reported that communicating with their donors and other constituents over the web and through email is important.
All respondents used the Internet primarily for email, fundraising, and e-newsletters.
The future growth areas mentioned were discussion groups, blogs, and group fundraising.
Technology underpinned many organisations’ success. Most of the not-for-profits surveyed felt that it is important to their organisation’s operations to have a unified database that contains all information on donors and constituents. By contrast, fewer than half of the organisations actually had unified databases.
Stewardship and accountability were most important in Germany, with more than 60% of not-for-profit respondents there identifying an increased focus on this area. In addition, donors in the Netherlands and Germany are asking that contributions be restricted for certain purposes.
This can cause problems for charities: 54% of UK not-for-profits identified difficulty in receiving funds for general operating purposes.
Alan Bird, the Resource Alliance’s director of marketing and communications said: “This survey is the first of what is going to be an invaluable service to all European fundraisers. The Resource Alliance is delighted to have helped in its success this year.
“As fundraisers increasingly learn from what their colleagues are doing elsewhere in the world, it’s becoming even more important to be able to benchmark and compare how they operate with what their peers do.”
The full report will be available for download from 1 November 2008 at