Back in February, I talked about optimism for 2010 and how our Holiday Giving Survey showed an uptick in giving over the last quarter of 2000 with increased optimism for the New Year.
The resurgence seems to continue. Our 2009 State of Fundraising Survey showed the strongest sense of optimism for fundraisers in three years. During the first quarter of this year, our job banks featured double the number of postings compared to the first quarter of 2009. And now there’s a new survey from The Chronicle of Philanthropy which shows that charitable giving grew by a median of 11 percent in the first three months of 2010, compared with 2009.
This is all great news, of course, but as I also said in February, we have to balance this optimism in reality. We’re not out of the economic woods by any means, so we’re going to have plan accordingly, focus on what we do best and continue to make strong connections with our donors. But success is DEFINITELY possible, and that’s a far departure from the mood of the last two years.
This was probably nowhere more evident than at our International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore in April. I’ve been to many good conferences, but I’ve never felt the same kind of positive feeling and vibe as I got in Baltimore. I’m sure part of it is simply getting past the last two years, which have been extremely difficult, but I was overwhelmed at how upbeat and energized attendees were—and not just about their own prospects for the year either. A number of people came up to me and thanked AFP for our work over the past couple of years and the sacrifice we’ve made as well to keep programs and services going.
I was surprised (and pleased) to hear that, so thank you. We have made it our goal to maintain the same level of services to members despite the economy. But I have to say, it’s really AFP who should be thanking all of you. Because you are the ones who’ve truly made sacrifices—to maintain your programs that serve people who need them the most.
I’m in awe of the work that fundraisers have done over the past couple of years. Keeping organizations going. Inspiring donors in tough times. And in a lot of cases, still managing to increase fundraising and implement new programs. And it’s going to get better! There’s lot of good news yet to come, so let’s keep working together to find success for our organizations.