Donor Insight. Fundraising Action.

Ben Miller

Benjamin Miller is a consummate entrepreneur drawing upon degrees in mathematics and systems engineering to advance database marketing in the non-profit industry. Ben Miller is the Chief Analytic Officer at DonorTrends, and has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars from millions of donors over his career. Ben also serves on the Research Council for the AFP and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Growth in Giving Initiative.
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Recent Posts

What to Expect When You're Fundraising

Posted by Ben Miller on 06/2018

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Cost and Profit centers.  One practical solution offered was to separate the acquisition / reactivation budget into it's own cost center from the house file development budget which should become it's own profit center.  Instead of looking at both of these together as a profit center. Today we are going to talk about the house file consisting of any donor that has made a donation over the last two years.

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Topics: Lifetime Value, New Donor Acquistion, Fundraising Strategies, Revenue, Budgeting, Reactivation, Action Strategies, benchmarks, Mail Strategies

How to Build an Investment Minded NonProfit

Posted by Ben Miller on 06/2018

Our money is on you. 

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Topics: Lifetime Value, New Donor Acquistion, Fundraising Strategies, Revenue, Trends, Budgeting, Action Strategies, Mail Strategies

Fundraisers and Finance

Posted by Ben Miller on 06/2018

I was looking over a client’s budget recently, and something struck me as I was reviewing their acquisition numbers. It started with a relatively simple question. Why are you only budgeting to bring in 8,000 new donors?

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Topics: Lifetime Value, New Donor Acquistion, Revenue, Reactivation, Lapsed Donors, Action Strategies, benchmarks

First Quarter 2018 Donations Are Down

Posted by Ben Miller on 05/2018

The Quarterly Fundraising Effectiveness Project report was released this week and results aren’t good. At DonorTrends, we keep a close eye on FEP trends. It is the most important industry benchmark, representing more than 17,000 organizations. These transactions make up the Growth in Giving database [GiG]. This is the biggest database of its kind and provides organizations across the sector benchmarks to gauge their own progress.

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Topics: Donor Retention, Retention, Retention Rate, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, FEP, Action Strategies, benchmarks

The Results Are In... Fundraising in 2017.

Posted by Ben Miller on 04/2018

For the first time the non-profit sector is able to track fundraising performance throughout the course of the year.  The Fundraising Effectiveness Project is now producing quarterly reports that give us real time data on what is happening across 9,179 organizations.  In 2017 these quarterly reports allowed us to track the impact from some major fundraising events like the slew of disasters we saw in the third quarter to the tax reform passed at the very end of the year.

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Topics: Donor Retention, Revenue, Retention, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, FEP, benchmarks

Analysis vs Reporting vs Data-Driven Fundraising

Posted by Ben Miller on 03/2018

What's the difference between reporting and analysis? According to Salesforce, reporting is answering the question, "What is happening?" and analysis is answering the question, "Why is it happening?"  (You can read more about it in this blog post. ) While this is a good distinction, I don't think most people are much concerned with this nuance.  We all try to answer both of these questions when looking at a report.  The natural next step, after figuring out what is happening, is to figure out why.

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Topics: Trends, Action Strategies, Mail Strategies

All Donors Are Not Created Equal

Posted by Ben Miller on 01/2018

Right now, many organizations are pulling together year-end numbers to see if they hit their fundraising goals in December.  

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Topics: Annual Fund, Year End Strategy, Revenue, Trends

2017 Fundraising Year in Review

Posted by Ben Miller on 12/2017

For many of us, this last week of the year is a time when things slow down.  Whether you're traveling for the holidays, taking off a few hours early, or - even if you are working your standard work week - a lot of the world just seems to operate at a warm-up speed, as opposed to full-throttle.  This is not the case, however, when it comes to donations.  More donations will come in over this last week than at any other time throughout the year.   For 2017, nonprofit organizations have a lot riding on just how much of a surge we'll see in year-end donations.

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Topics: Year End Strategy, Revenue, Trends, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, FEP

Not Another Taco Tuesday!

Posted by Ben Miller on 12/2017

 Every Saturday before I head to the grocery store, I write a list of the meals my family will have for the week.  This helps me figure out what groceries I need to buy.  Planning ahead has its advantages, but it has disadvantages too.  If you don’t allow yourself flexibility to adjust the plan once in a while, you can find yourself with some rather disappointing results - and no way in which to change them. 

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Topics: donor upgrading, Year End Strategy, Fundraising Strategies, Upgrade Strategies, Revenue, Trends, Budgeting, Reactivation, Lapsed, Lapsed Donors

The Creative Testing Fallacy

Posted by Ben Miller on 12/2017

Roger wrote a piece (The Same Old Santa) on the Agitator about an appeal that has not changed year over year for the last 22 years and was applauding this.  The reason for the praise is that this creative was a masterpiece and did not need to be tinkered with.  He was suggesting that many do not abide by the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, because of their desire to continually make changes.   

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Topics: Revenue, testing

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Fundraising Superhero,

We know how many capes you have to wear. Fighting the good fight, trying to raise money to fund critical programs. We're here to help. We're using this space to collect tips and trends that will help strengthen your fundraising superpowers.  Together, we'll fight Fundraising Foes like donor attrition, downgrading, and rising costs. 

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