Overall giving was down 6% through the first half of 2017 as compared to 2016 as 5% fewer donors gave as compared to the first six months of last year. The slow start has placed organizations across the country in a hole that only an epic year-end campaign can dig out.

The forecast comes from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and is based on data compiled by a number of nonprofit software providers including DonorPerfect, Neon, and Bloomerang. The report, current through June 30, shows 3.62 million individual donors having given $3.05 billion, as compared to 3.81 million and $3.23 billion through six months last year. Declines in major gifts have been the primary driver of decreased funds as the $2.35 billion in gifts of $1,000 or more is down 8.9 as compared to 2016.

In the meantime, mid-level gifts of $250 to $1,000 ($311.43 million) and general gifts of less than $250 ($381.43 million) are up 14.2% and 8.9%, respectively.

Jon Biedermann, vice president of DonorPerfect, said that pending tax reform could be what’s causing major donors to tighten the pursestrings. The recent run up in stocks has also potentially led donors to delay giving.

New donors (1.29 million) and retained new donors from last year (466,000) are down in number as compared to this point last year by 16% and 34%, respectively. The comparative cost savings in stewarding an existing donor as compared to activating a new donor is well known, estimated to be about one-seventh the cost.

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