Latest Blackbaud Index Report Indicates Slight Yearly Rise in Overall Giving and Decrease in Online Donations

April 18, 2011

Debuts new specialty index focused on arts, culture, and humanities organizations 


CHARLESTON, SC – April 18, 2011 – Blackbaud, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLKB) announced the release of a report focused on fundraising trends based on monthly findings from The Blackbaud Index and featuring commentary from the American Association of Museums (AAM)and noted fundraising and communications consultancy, McPhersonAssociates.  Additionally, Blackbaud announced the release of a newspecialty index focused on arts, culture, and humanities organizations.

“Overall charitable giving once again increased in the latest threemonth period, rising 3% over prior year results,” said Chuck Longfield,Blackbaud’s Chief Scientist and Creator of the Blackbaud Index.  “Thisresult represents the seventh consecutive period of increased givingand, though overall giving is still roughly 5% below pre-recessionlevels, indicates that we are well into a recovery in charitablegiving. This result is especially noteworthy given the substantialgiving to Haiti in the prior year period.”
The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving and The Blackbaud Index ofOnline Giving are updated on the 15th of each month and are based on athree-month moving average of year-over-year percent changes incharitable giving. They provide a comprehensive and timely source ofcharitable giving. To subscribe to monthly email or text alerts or toread more about the methodology, visit

The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving
The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving reports that overallcharitable revenue increased 3% for the three months ending February2011, as compared to the same period in 2010. This trend is based on$2.2 billion in 12 months’ revenue from 1,430 nonprofit organizations.

Blackbaud also releases additional data and analysis that reports onorganizations by size. The Index found that three-month overallcharitable revenue for small organizations (prior year revenue of <$1 million) increased by 6.4% in February, while overall charitablerevenue at medium organizations (prior year revenue of $1 – 10 million)increased by 4.8%, and overall charitable revenue at large organizations(prior year revenue > $10 million) increased by 1.1%.

The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving
The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving reports that online revenuedecreased by 8.6% for the three months ending February 2011, as comparedto the same period in 2010. This trend is based on $427 million in 12months’ online revenue from 1,837 organizations.

The Index found that three-month online revenue for small organizations(prior year revenue of < $1 million) increased by 18.8% in February,while online revenue at medium organizations (prior year revenue of $1 –10 million) increased by 1.3%, and online revenue at largeorganizations (prior year revenue > $10 million) decreased by 27%.

During the first three months of 2010, the Online Giving Index reportedsubstantial increases in online giving particularly to large nonprofitsengaged in Haiti relief efforts. Understanding that these online givinglevels are compared against the same period in 2011 provides somecontext to the reported 8.6% decrease in online giving overall and the27% decrease for large organizations.  If online giving to internationalrelief organizations is excluded, the online index shows an increase of2.6% for the three months ending February 2011 as compared to the sameperiod last year.

New: The Blackbaud Index – Arts, Culture, and Humanities
The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving reports that arts, culture,and humanities organizations had an overall charitable revenue decreaseof 3.1% for the three months ending February 2011, as compared to thesame period in 2010. This trend is based on $221 million in 12 monthrevenue from 163 organizations.
The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving reports that arts, culture, andhumanities organizations had an online revenue increase of 9% for thethree months ending February 2011, as compared to the same period in2010. This trend is based on $19 million in 12 month revenue from 153organizations.

Regarding the spike reflected by both the online and comprehensiveindices in giving to arts organizations during September and October(+16.2% and +15.2% respectively), Ford W. Bell, president, AmericanAssociation of Museums (AAM), attributes the increase to the start ofthe cultural season. “For many arts and cultural organizations,September marks the beginning of the new season,” he explained. “It’s along-standing tradition. This convention holds true for museums, andalso for orchestras, opera companies, dance companies and theatergroups. The excitement around a new exhibition or performance calendargenerates contributions. Likewise, many arts organizations coordinatefundraising efforts at this time of year to best capitalize on the newexcitement.”

Online giving to arts and cultural organizations reported a steadyincrease throughout 2010 and early 2011, as reported by the BlackbaudIndex of Online Giving. Bell asserts that this will increase as moremuseums embrace online and mobile methods to engage with their audience.Bell singles out mobile contributions as one that holds considerablepotential for cultural organizations. AAM conducted a study, inpartnership with Fusion Research + Analytics and Guide by Cell, which  concluded that 10% of museums planned to initiate mobile giving programsin the coming year.

Dick McPherson, president and creative director of McPhersonAssociates, a fundraising and communications consulting firm, providedcommentary on the specialty index focusing on arts and culturalorganizations. “Other nonprofit sectors, such as environmental andhealth and human services experience spikes in giving that do not occurwith arts and cultural nonprofits,” explained McPherson. “In an economicdownturn people still want to help human service organizations whendisaster strikes, but they may put off giving to the arts.”

Donors’ relationships with arts organizations are personal, accordingto McPherson, while donors’ interactions with human service nonprofitsare typically from a distance. He said arts organizations see givingincrease, as well as attendance, when they employ out-of-the-box, onlinemethods to forge an intimacy with their audience.
“Arts groups are using technology in the most interesting ways, butthey don’t attract headline news coverage,” he continued. “An art museumin a small urban area said daily attendance increased from 5,000 perday to 40,000 once they started a digital gallery on their website.We’re finding that arts institutions that have aggressively embracedtechnology to enhance engagement are seeing increases in attendance andfundraising.”

Project-based giving is also becoming more prevalent among artsinstitutions, said McPherson. It enables donors to specify their giftfor an individual project. “In a tough economy, people need extraincentives to give. An example of project-based giving would be a museumwith an exhibit by young women artists may highlight that on theirwebsite to attract supporters specifically interested in the work ofyoung women artists.”

Visit for further data on The Blackbaud Index and addit
ional industrysubsets, for monthly updates on the 15th or to subscribe to email ortext alerts, to view a video about benchmarking and metrics, and todownload the latest report.

About Blackbaud

Blackbaud is the leading global provider of software and servicesdesigned specifically for nonprofit organizations, enabling them toimprove operational efficiency, build strong relationships, and raisemore money to support their missions. Approximately 24,000 organizations— including The American Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, Earthjustice,International Fund for Animal Welfare, Lincoln Center, The SalvationArmy, The Taft School, Tulsa Community Foundation, Ursinus College, theWGBH Educational Foundation, and Yale University — use one or moreBlackbaud products and services for fundraising, constituentrelationship management, financial management,  website management,direct marketing, education administration, ticketing, businessintelligence, prospect research, consulting, and analytics. Since 1981,Blackbaud’s sole focus and expertise has been partnering with nonprofitsand providing them the solutions they need to make a difference intheir local communities and worldwide. Headquartered in the UnitedStates, Blackbaud also has operations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong,the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit