Target Analytics has just issued the results for its Index of National Fundraising Performance for the first half of 2008. Read ‘em and weep!

· Fewer than one third (31%) of the organizations in the index had positive donor growth in the first half of 2008 –a continuation of the declining trend over the past 2.5 years.

· Revenue per donor continued to increase with 68% of the organizations in the index showing an increase.

· BUT…the authors note that despite the increase in per donor revenue, when adjusted for inflation, real revenue has actually declined a cululative -5.8% in the past three years.

For the twelve months ending Q2 2008, Target Analytics evaluated transactions from 74 organizations, including over 37 million donors and more than 69 million gifts totaling over $2 billion in revenue.

Especially hard hit sectors include “societal benefit” organizations –advocacy, civil rights, human rights, voter education, etc. — and health and human services. The only sector to experience increases in the number of new donors was the “animal welfare” sector.

What continues to worry me as I look at these numbers are the continuing declines in new donor acquisition and also in donor retention. Sure, the economic uncertainties of 2008 aren’t helping, but these trends have been occurring for three years. Whatever sector your organization operates in take a moment to read the authors’ summary of acquisition and retention trends in your sector.

Here at The Agitator we’re working overtime on a new Donor Loyalty white paper using the results from our 2008 DonorTrends survey. We hope our findings and recommendations will provide some much needed shelter in this storm. Stay tuned for a release date.


P.S. As the presidential elections near many organizations are concerned about the effect political fundraising has on their results. While some advocacy and issue groups may feel the effect, I agree with the Target Analysis authors who cite Giving USA 2007 and note “individuals gave a total of $229 billion to charity in 2007, which was 390 times the total raised by all candidates running for president that same year. While 70% of the U.S. population gives to charity every year, only 1% to 2% of the population gives to presidential candidates or campaigns.”

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This article was posted in: Demographics, Direct mail, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, DonorTrends / DonorVoice, Fundraising analytics / data, Nonprofit management, Research.
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