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Abstract

  • We provide initial evidence on whether use of professional fundraising services by US nonprofit organizations (NPOs) increases the effectiveness of NPOs' fundraising efforts. To a well-tested model of organization-level donations, we add an interaction term that captures the impact that professional fundraising fees an NPO incurs has on the effectiveness of an NPOs' spending on fundraising in raising donations. We find that professional fundraising fees has a significant positive impact on the effectiveness of fundraising efforts in raising donations for NPOs in the full, education, and health samples, but no impact for NPOs in the arts and human services samples. For NPOs in the full sample and NPOs in the education sample, one quarter of the effect of fundraising on donations stems from the positive impact of professional fundraising services on the effectiveness of fundraising in raising donations. For NPOs in the health sample, one half of the effect of fundraising on donations stems from the positive impact of professional fundraising services on the effectiveness of fundraising in raising donations. These results suggest that professional fundraising services significantly enhance the effectiveness of fundraising for these types of NPOs. While the results of this study seem to confirm the decisions of managers of education and health NPOs to utilize professional fundraising services, the results also suggest that managers of arts and human services NPOs may want to reconsider using professional fundraising services, at least the types of services they currently purchase and the way they currently utilize such services.

Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.