Top 400 Charities See Billions Less in Donations

Elizabeth Field

According to a new survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, donations to the top 400 charities such as the United Way and the Salvation Army have declined 11 percent. This is the greatest decline in over 20 years—since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began its rankings.

The Chronicle conducts this survey in order to determine the 400 organizations that receive the most money from private donations. Although the recession has officially ended, these nonprofit organizations are not hopeful to see a great increase in their 2010 donations. The unemployment rate lingers at a high 10 percent nationally, and the economy continues to look bleak. For the most part, they are setting their budgets conservatively, only expecting to see a 1 or 2 percent increase from the 2009 donations.

The nation’s larger and more sophisticated fundraising organizations were not hurt as badly as the smaller charities, because they are more resilient. Unfortunately both big and small organizations felt the decline of 2009 donations with a 68.8% decrease in funds.

While many of the major charitable organizations have received less monetary donations, there is a reported increase in the donation of food and clothing. These food and clothing donations have actually helped new and small organizations such as Stamford, Connecticut’s Americares Foundation, which has grown the fastest in 20 years based on donations of goods, not money.

Larger organizations are now aiming their focus at the younger generations, incorporating technology into their fundraising. The Salvation Army and Red Cross have implemented a text message program to make donating easy and accessible to teens, as it had previously relied on older generations.