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

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

Gratitude for Data and the FEP

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2017

Thanksgiving is upon us, a time of year when we reflect upon those things in our lives that we are grateful for. From a nonprofit professional standpoint, I’d like to give thanks to The Growth in Giving’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP.)

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Topics: Donor Retention, Fundraising Strategies, Retention, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, FEP, Major Donors

Q3 Fundraising Report from The Fundraising Effectiveness Project

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2017

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project released its third quarter Quarterly Fundraising Report and there are some disturbing trends that we all need to pay attention to.  The headlines are pretty startling:

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Topics: Donor Retention, New Donor Acquistion, Revenue, Retention, Retention Rate, Trends

Are you a Fundraising Fox or a Hedgehog?

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2017

Yesterday on the Agitator, Roger wrote a post "But, It's Not Industry Standard." This post reminded me of the greek hedgehog parable.  "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."  The basic premise is that the clever fox attempts to catch the hedgehog using a variety of strategies.  After hiding, sneaking, pouncing, and chasing the fox is not successful.  The one big thing the hedgehog knows is how to defend itself.  

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Topics: Fundraising Strategies

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