Despite accelerated giving, charities like church-based shelters that strive to meet basic needs of the most down-and-out Americans are struggling to remain viable as demand for services accelerates, according to a new study.
A report last week in The Chronicle of Philanthropy said that donors to these charities have raised their giving to fund some of the increased needs, citing a study by Brewer Direct, a fundraising and marketing firm.
But holding onto new donors has been a challenge for the charities, with some reporting that many donors had stopped giving after two years or more.
The number of donors to 13 religious shelters nationwide whose data the study analyzed grew by 12%, to 15,555 people, from 2008 to 2010, before tapering off slightly last year.
During that time, the dollar value of donations of $10,000 or less increased by 30% to more than $1.8 million.
The size of the average gift grew from $152 in 2008 to $175 last year, and the number of annual gifts also rose, from 2.6 to 3.2 gifts per donor in 2011.
Long-term trends are less encouraging, however, as the missions are now losing about a third of their multiyear donors annually, according to Randy Brewer, the consulting firm’s president.