Donor Retention Rates/Growth in Giving

The results for the 2010 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey  are now available. This annual survey is conducted as part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, of which Metafile is a charter member (Donor Software Workgroup). The project was started by AFP and the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. With this new data, the project now has data from 2004-05 through 2010. It’s growing into an essential statistical resource.

Why are the survey and its results interesting? For me, they are interesting because they provide the nonprofit sector with a way to benchmark giving performance, regardless of software used. It enables organizations to compare themselves to other organizations operating in their budget level, regional area, sub-sector, etc. It also enables organizations to focus on their own year-over-year performance and use this information to fine-tune their fundraising programs. And, as evidenced in recent years, it can be reflective of the economic conditions of the timeframe. This most recent report is another example, I suspect.

Giving hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels, in fact, it dropped again last year for small budget organizations. What’s interesting is that in some of the budget levels, giving, dollar-wise in addition to numbers of donors, was up over 2009. The report also highlights a turnaround in gaining new or reactivating lapsed donors. The increase in number of donors was up 1.7% in 2010 vs. a 3.2% loss in 2009. Because the breakdown of each organization is different, please read the survey and use its data to compare and contrast your own organization where appropriate. If you like the ability to compare this kind of data, please consider joining the survey next year. You can do it from directly within ResultsPlus, so there’s no need to manually gather and submit the data!

Do you have other benchmarking resources you like to use at your organization? If so, what are they, and what makes them beneficial tools for your needs?