Almost half of all nonprofits (46%) were in a capital or special campaign in 2015, according to the Special Report on Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns, a new study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC).  In 2011, only 12% were in the midst of a campaign.  The study also found gains in overall fundraising revenue. 

“The sharp increase over 2011 is not surprising, given the state of the economy five years ago.  In the post-2008 landscape, many nonprofits delayed campaigns,” explains Tim Winkler, founder and CEO of the Winkler Group.  “This study’s findings, and the rise in giving we’re seeing across most sectors, is welcome news.” 

According to the study, the average goal of current capital, endowment, or comprehensive campaigns was $45 million.  The average projected length of capital campaigns was 4.72 years. 

More than half (59%) of nonprofits surveyed saw fundraising gains over the same period in 2014. Organizations with budgets over $3 million were the most likely to realize gains.  

Seventy-one percent of education organizations—the most of any sector—experienced fundraising growth.  The results echo the findings of last year’s Giving USA report, which showed a 7.1% increase in charitable giving, with the strongest increases in the education sector. 

Other key findings of the NRC study:

  • Educational organizations were the most likely to conduct a campaign.  Human service organizations were the least likely. 
  • 28% of organizations not currently in a campaign were planning campaigns.
  • Major gifts at organizations surveyed rose 55%–compared with a 45% growth last year.
  • 68% of human service organizations saw an increase in giving over last year.

The study’s findings are based on responses received from 1,071 nonprofit organizations in July/August 2015.

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