The Effec­tive­ness Project: fundrais­ers – take notice soon!

On 16 Sep­tem­ber 16, the Fundrais­ing Effec­tive­ness Project (FEP) in the USA released the find­ings from their 2013 sur­vey. For the first time in five years, char­i­ty respon­dents saw pos­i­tive gains in giv­ing, but still con­tin­ued to lose donors faster than they gained them.

Written by
Steven Shattuck
May 23, 2013

The 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Project report summarises data from 2,840 survey respondents covering year-to-year fundraising results for 2011-2012. The report shows that:

  • Gains of $769 million in gifts from new, upgraded current and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of $735 million through reduced gifts and lapsed donors. This means that, while there was a positive $34 million net growth in giving, every $100 gained in 2012 was offset by $96 in losses through gift attrition. That is, 96 per cent of gains in giving were offset by losses in giving.
  • Gains of 866,000 in new and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of 909,000 in lapsed donors. This means that there was a negative (44,000) growth in donors and every 100 donors gained in 2012 were offset by 105 in lost donors through attrition. That is, 105 per cent of the donors gained were offset by lapsed donors.
  • Growth-in-giving performance varies significantly according to the size of the organisation (based on total amount raised), with larger organisations performing much better than smaller ones. For instance,
    ◦ Organisations raising $500,000 or more had an average 16.6 per cent net gain.
    ◦ Organisations raising $100,000 to $500,000 had an average net loss of -5.1 per cent.
    ◦ Organisations in the under $100,000 groups had an average net loss of -13.5 percent.
  • The largest growth in gift dollars/donors came from new gifts/donors. The pattern was most pronounced in the organisations with the highest growth-in-giving ratios.
  • The greatest losses in gift dollars came from lapsed new gifts, particularly in the organisations with the lowest and highest growth-in-giving ratios. The greatest losses in donors came from lapsed new donors in all growth-in-giving categories.

Click here to download the 2013 FEP report in PDF.

About the Fundraising Effectiveness Project

In 2006 the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute established the Fundraising Effectiveness Project to conduct research on fundraising effectiveness and help nonprofit organisations increase their fundraising results at a faster pace. Organisations listed on the cover page have joined them as sponsors of the project.

The project goal is to help nonprofit organisations measure, compare and maximize their annual growth in giving.

About the author: Steven Shattuck

Steven Shattuck is vice president of marketing at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organisations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world. He is a contributor to Social Media Today, Search Engine Journal, The Build Networkand Business2Community. Steven has spoken at national and local conferences and is frequently interviewed by media outlets for his expertise in digital marketing.

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