This Human Services Spotlight is adapted from the CCS Fundraising 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at nonprofits in this sector.  

Download the Human Services Spotlight infographic, or explore the 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report in its entirety.

This Human Services Sector Spotlight is adapted from CCS’s 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at the data provided by 143 survey respondents from that sector.

fundraising practices

Following an 8% three-year decrease in human service nonprofit revenue in 2022, most human services organizations (59%) report revenue increases vs. their prior fiscal year, as compared to 57% across all sectors. Just over half (53%) of organizations get 20% or less of their giving in the form of non-cash assets, which is the highest rate among each of the other sectors.

Just over half (53%) of human services organizations anticipate no change in their fundraising revenue in the coming year as a result of the upcoming election and pending public policies. While it is certainly important to research the political giving of your largest donors in advance of major requests, know that history tells us that donors continue to support their favorite charitable causes during an election year.

trends in funding priorities

In the past twelve months, organizations saw an increase in demand or outsized growth of funding for the following specific services.

human services sector projections and priorities

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of participants expect major and mid-level gifts and annual appeals to increase in 2024. Organizations might consider using wealth screening and an RFM analysis to mine your prospect list for meaningful opportunities, particularly after many human service nonprofits expanded their donor databases during COVID-19 crisis support. Seventy-five percent (75%) of respondents believe DEI is important to define their organization’s values, compared to 77% across sectors.

staffing and resourcing in the human services sector

In 2023, 38% of responding human services organizations increased their fundraising staff, compared to about one-third across sectors. This is also the highest rate among each of the other sectors. While 68% of all organizations increased staff pay by 1-10% over the past three years, 69% of organizations in this sector saw an increase. While seeking to attract talented staff, human service nonprofits might consider highlighting this figure and challenging other assumptions at the onset of the recruitment process.

donor acquisition and retention

Fifty-four percent (54%) of organizations indicate that their number of new donors has increased in the past 12 months, which is similar to 57% across sectors. Forty-four percent (44%) of organizations report retaining over half of their new donors over the past 12 months, compared to 67% overall. Human services nonprofits might consider leveraging specialized legacy societies as a powerful donor acquisition and retention tool.

human services data and technology

Sixty-four percent (64%) of participants describe their organization’s reporting and analytics capabilities at a leading level or higher of sophistication, versus 58% across sectors. While 58% of all organizations have not addressed the use of AI technology in their operations, 54% in this sector have not. Human services nonprofits could leverage guiding questions to implement AI in their fundraising practices.

The data on this page was curated from a questionnaire taken by over 600 responding organizations during the fall of 2023, reporting on FY23 results.