Report Summaries

The NRC has issued reports since 2010. Each covers trends in fundraising results and a special topic.


Winter 2017 covers all giving in 2016 plus a section looking at the impact of the U.S. elections on charitable fundraising. See the Press release for the Winter 2017 report.

Winter 2016 covers all giving in 2015 plus a section digging more deeply into data about bequests, plus a review of trends from 2010 through 2015.

Special Report about Capital Campaigns, released January 2016. Also includes mid-year fundraising receipt data for 2015.

Winter 2015 covered results for all of 2014 receipts plus special sections on planned giving and the relationship between the CEO and the development team.

Summer 2014 covered mid-year results for that year plus a more detailed examination of results by subsector and summaries of the concerns expressed by fundraisers whose organizations were not on track to meet fundraising goals: organizational capacity, shifts in donor priorities, and larger economic concerns.

Special Issue on Annual Funds, released July 2014, covers best practices in fundraising for current operating needs.  An infographic of those findings is available here.

Winter 2014 covered fundraising results for all of 2013 and included a section showing the share of funds raised from different donor types (individuals, bequests, foundations, and corporations).

Winter 2013  covered fundraising results for all of 2012 and focused on planned giving with an additional section on benchmarks for donor engagement.

Late Fall 2012 included a section on donor retention strategies. Higher retention rates were reported by organizations that described using multiple retention tactics. Organizations that saw their fundraising results rise were highly likely to focus on donor recognition and multiple communications channels to keep donors informed and engaged.

NRC issued a special issue in 2012 about board engagement in fundraising. Across different sizes of organizations, different board engagement strategies were more or less likely to help the charity meet its fundraising goal.

Winter 2012 covered fundraising for all of 2011. The special topic focused on board giving, including average amounts for required board member giving by size of organization and by subsector (major category, such as arts or education or health). Overall, when a minimum amount is required, it is most likely to be $1,000 (the median value). The average amount is higher, at just under $5,000, which includes responses from arts organizations, which had the highest minimums.  That edition also has a Canadian sub-report, available separately.

Fall 2011, issued in November, covered fundraising through September 2011. The special topic included indicators of fiscal stress, predictions of 2011 fourth quarter giving and forecasts for 2012, including changing organizational investment in staffing and fundraising methods.

Early Fall 2011, issued in September, covered fundraising through June 2011. Special topics covered investment by fundraising methods, changes in fundraising effort (staffing, volunteers, resources), and campaigns. At that time, about one-third of respondents reported being in or planning a campaign. Staffing levels for fundraising very clearly mattered for success: organizations with paid staff, even after controlling for budget size, were more likely to meet fundraising goals. 

Winter 2011, released in April, covered fundraising for all of 2010. Special topics including staff, financial support and volunteers; share of funds raised from different types of donors (individuals, corporations, and foundations); and the share of funds raised that were received from October through December. This is one of the few studies available that reports funding allocation by type of donor. 

Late Fall 2010, released in November, covered fundraising through September of 2010. Special topics included an estimate of the share of contributions received from October through December; changes in the demand for services from the organization; budget predictions especially efforts to reduce the budget; and receipt of contributions for Haitian earthquake or Pakistani flood relief. 

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The NRC surveys charitable entities in the U.S. or Canada. Members agree to combine survey questions to fit on one of the two annual NRC surveys. Collaborative members provide and review the survey questions, develop a list of constituents to be surveyed, and publicize the survey and results. They also provide guidance on additional research topics, interpret results, and offer recommendations for how to implement study findings.