US Donors’ Support Shifts to Newer Nonprofits

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After Superstorm Sandy surge, Red Cross sees donations dwindle.

The organization’s rank among the nation’s best-supported nonprofits fell from ninth to 21st place in an annual survey released Thursday by The Chronicle of Philanthropy – its lowest position since the survey began in 1991. A year after receiving huge sums to respond to Superstorm Sandy, which devastated several states along the Atlantic seaboard, the American Red Cross experienced a 32 percent drop in donations. United Way’s $3.87 billion in private donations for the 2014 fiscal year ensured its place in the top spot of the Chronicle’s survey for the ninth year in a row. Donor-advised funds, which are rapidly growing in popularity, enable donors to make a charitable contribution, immediately receive a tax benefit, and then recommend grants from the fund at any time thereafter. Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer for the Red Cross, said the organization received $307 million in 2013 for Superstorm Sandy, accounting for most of the difference between 2013 and 2014.

While the most recent fiscal year saw its share of natural disasters – from raging wildfires in the west to tornado outbreaks across the Great Plains – none were on the same scale as Sandy or Katrina. Criticism for the organization’s slow response to Sandy and inadequate anti-fraud measures in the aftermath of Katrina could have hampered donations.

They included destructive wildfires and flooding in much of the West, several outbreaks of tornadoes and the mudslide near Oso, Washington, that killed 43 people. Meanwhile, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, launched in 2007, boosted its private support by more than 40 percent from 2013 to 2014, from $1.38 billion to nearly $1.97 billion. “There’s a question as to whether the big legacy organizations are attracting new and younger donors,” said Ms. Palmer, adding that some young donors are seeking to support charities with sharply focused missions instead of those with a broad range of priorities and commitments. Among the organizations that have dropped sharply are Ducks Unlimited, 91st in 1991 and now 353rd; the American Lung Association, 39th in 1991 and now 365th; and the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, 63rd in 1995 and now 329th. Komen has been struggling to maintain donations since a controversy in early 2012, when it moved to halt its financial partnerships with Planned Parenthood and then reversed the decision.

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