44% of animal charities see fewer donations in 2010
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:
NEW YORK–44% of animal charities saw decreased donations in
the first nine months of 2010 as compared to 2009, reports the
Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. 31% of animal
charities saw increased donations, while 23% saw no change, the
Center on Philanthropy found.
No sector surveyed by the Center on Philanthropy experienced
a steeper drop in revenue. The center’s October 2010 eighth annual
fundraising survey included data from 151 animal charities.
As a whole, 36% of the 2,356 public charities and 163
private foundations surveyed reported increased income in 2010,
while the number reporting a decline decreased to 37%, from 51% in
the 2009 survey.
Overall, assessed GuideStar, one of the participants in
conducting the survey, “The results of our fall fundraising survey
may indicate the beginning of an economic recovery in the nonprofit
sector. For the first time in two years, there is cause for cautious
optimism about the sector and the economy.”
GuideStar contracts with the Internal Revenue Service to post
the IRS Form 990 filings of U.S. charities. Other participants in
the Center on Philanthropy study included the National Center for
Charitable Statistics and the Association of Fundraising
The animal charity sector has been found by other studies to
include more total donors than any but religion, but animal charity
donors typically make the smallest contributions and split their
giving among by far the greatest number of recipients. Animal
charities usually rely on small donations to meet operating costs,
but rarely are able to accumulate enough income from small donations
to fund capital projects, such building or renovating shelters and
As grant funding for capital projects is scarce in the animal
charity sector, capital projects usually are funded by bequests and
the occasional large gift.
Wealthy Americans donated 40% less to charities in 2009 than
in 2005, but 4% more volunteered for charities, the Center on
Philanthropy at Indiana University reported earlier, a finding
appearing to explain why shelter building projects have stalled all
over the U.S.
Funded by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Center on
Philanthropy surveyed more than 800 people with household income of
more than $200,000 or net resources of more than $1 million,
excluding the value of their homes. Respondents had average wealth
of $10.7 million.
While 98% of the respondents donated to charities in 2009,
and two-thirds continued to support the same charities and causes as
in previous years, the average amount given slid from $91,928 in
2005 to $83,034 in 2007, then fell to $54,016 in 2009.
But 78% of the respondents reported volunteering for
charities, up from 74% in 2007. This trend bodes well for the
future, as volunteers and former volunteers are the people most
likely to give or bequeath large sums to charities later–if their
relationships with the charities remain positive, even after they
The drop in donations from the richest Americans contributed
to a 3.9% overall reduction in U.S. charitable giving. Based on past
trends, of total U.S. donations of $303.7 billion in 2009, about
1%–$3 billion–was donated to charities promoting animal welfare,
including advocacy and rescue. Another 1% went toward habitat
conservation and preservation of endangered species.