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US Charity Funds 'Fall-Off' After September 11

18 February 2002 at 12:02 pm
Staff Reporter
New research shows a large number of charities in the United states are experiencing shortfalls in fundraising since the terrorist attacks of September 11 compared to efforts the previous year.

Staff Reporter | 18 February 2002 at 12:02 pm


US Charity Funds 'Fall-Off' After September 11
18 February 2002 at 12:02 pm

New research shows a large number of charities in the United states are experiencing shortfalls in fundraising since the terrorist attacks of September 11 compared to efforts the previous year.

Although a majority of Not for Profit organisations have managed to at least keep pace with the year 2000 in their current fundraising efforts, 44 percent of charities are now experiencing shortfalls since September 11.

The world’s largest association of philanthropic fundraising professionals, AFP asked a sample of its members to compare totals before and after September 11.

AFP President and CEO Paulette Maehara says the events of September 11 have had a significant impact on fundraising, although they haven’t had the devastating effect that many believed would result.

Maehara says the impact has been quite varied, although it’s clear that too many charities are hurting. AFP members also pointed to the slowing economy as having a substantial effect on giving and this could be extremely critical to charities, especially if the economic slowdown continues well into 2002.

AFP says given the opportunity to respond many organisations outlined some of the strategies they’re using to encourage giving and reminding donors that “our needs still exist” proved a challenge — and an opportunity — to many charities.

It says another common thread running through many of the respondents’ strategies was increased personal contact with donors since Sept. 11.

The survey also tracked responses by type of charitable organisation — education, healthcare, social service, arts/cultural/humanities, religious, public/society benefit, environment or other.

AFP says taken separately, the responses from the various sub-groups are not sufficient to be statistically valid, but they do point to trends in each area. While the responses from most sub-groups were fairly consistent with the overall report, there were a few exceptions.

Religious groups were in a steady growth mode prior to Sept. 11 and many continued to experience growth in their fundraising efforts after Sept. 11. The percentage of religious groups reporting decreases at the end of October was the lowest overall among all types of organisations.

Arts/cultural/humanities (“ACH”) organisations and environmental groups had the largest level of decline comparing August to October month-end totals.

The report says:
 nearly 50% of ACH organisations were seeing growth in funds raised through August; this number dropped to 30% in October.
 By October, more than 50% of ACH groups reported decreases in funds raised. However, more than 40% were reporting decreases in August, so many of these declines were already in play before Sept. 11.

Environmental organisations were experiencing an increase in funds raised at the end of August 2001, compared to the year before. At the end of October 2001, the majority of these organisations were experiencing decreases in funds raised compared to October 2000.

According to Sara Meléndez, President and CEO of Independent Sector, a US coalition of nonprofit and philanthropic organisations, that despite the tremendous outpouring of generosity in response to the September 11 attacks, this important study confirms that many charities have been struggling to meet rising community needs with decreasing resources.

The continuing economic downturn, coupled with reductions in state and local government funding, present great challenges to charitable organisations.

She says the Association of Fundraising Professionals has done the sector a great service in documenting these trends and alerting donors and policy makers to this growing concern.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 25,000 members in 163 chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs. The Association says it fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. AFP was formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE).

For a full run down of the AFP report go to their web site at

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