In Private Giving, Modest to Strong Growth Expected

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The New York Sun

New York nonprofits that started a new fiscal year July 1 are projecting modest to strong growth in private giving after a year of the same.

At City Harvest, 2% revenue growth is projected for the 2007 fiscal year, which would increase the total to $11.4 million from $11.2 million. Last year’s growth was about 6%.

The Federation of Welfare Protestant Agencies is anticipating another big boost after a major reorganization of its development strategy. Giving was up 20% in the last fiscal year.

One of the city’s largest fund-raising bodies, the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, is aiming to repeat the 3.1% growth the annual campaign experienced in the 2006 fiscal year, to $144.3 million from $140 million.

“We think we can continue to grow at a 3% to 4% level,” a senior vice president at United Jewish Appeal, Paul Kane, said.

That projection comes after three years of aggressive growth totaling 11%, which Mr. Kane attributed to the leadership of the campaign chairman during those years, Jerry Levin. For the 2007 fiscal year, Mr. Levin is passing the baton to John Shapiro and Merryl Tisch.

The campaign relies on volunteers working in tandem with a staff of 80 to 100 fund-raising professionals. Fund-raising events pull in big numbers. “We run very upscale and tight events,” Mr. Kane said. “One day at the Waldorf-Astoria we had 1,000 lawyers for lunch, and then that night we had 600 people in the entertainment division,” Mr. Kane said. The organization keeps costs down by often reusing the paper centerpieces — which describe the organization’s work with 130 agencies and in Israel — instead of buying floral centerpieces.

City Harvest credited workplace giving for its growth this year, citing in particular a program that asked employees to put the cost of lunch in a brown paper bag. The Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger program brought in $335,000, a 67.5% increase from the prior year. It helped offset a $170,000 loss on the organization’s direct mail campaign, sent out the Friday before Hurricane Katrina hit.

New York’s numbers seem to be in sync with the nation. In its annual national study, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that 59% of organizations reported an increase in charitable receipts in 2005 and that the year 2005 had the fewest number of charities reporting a decline.


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