Good day, it’s Tom the grouch again.

Just browsing through the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2017 report, a marvellous  gift from Bloomerang, DonorPerfect, eTapestry and Neon.

The report examines year-to-year fundraising results (2015-16) from the 10,829 clients using the software of these firms.

Recently our sector has been losing more donors than gained each year. In some years (in this report), the ratio has been as high as 107 donors lost for each 100 gained.

However, 2016 apparently saw a HUGE turnaround … we only lost 99 donors for each 100 gained.

Or to put that accomplishment in perspective, the clients of these firms attracted 4,881,762 new and previously lapsed donors in 2016, while losing ‘only’ 4,832,341 donors. A net gain of 49,421 donors across 10,829 nonprofits.

Alas, retention rates were actually down slightly (averaging 45%, down 0.5%), so this spectacular net gain apparently came from somewhat improved acquisition rates.

Perhaps most striking is the performance difference in retention between the top 20% organizations, who lost on average 14.1% of their new donors, whereas the bottom 20% lost a whopping and unforgivable 68.3%.

One can’t blame ‘externalities’ for that kind of gap between best and worst performers … the culprit is crap fundraising.

Where does your nonprofit stand in that spectrum?

Who did the worst? The little guys … organizations with revenue less than $100k and, as the authors say, the least resources to put into donor engagement. They held their own in terms of gains, but suffered significantly higher losses.

Here’s the full report.

All that work for a net gain of 49,421 donors?! With Donald Trump as foil (or hero) and the world going to hell in a handbasket?

Can someone find me good news here?

Roger, inspire me!


This article was posted in: Donor acquisition, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Fundraising analytics / data, Nonprofit management.
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