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

Don't Call It a Comeback

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2018

Did you hear that faint sound?  It was Chicken Little breathing a sigh of relief.   When Q2 ended, the sky seemed to be falling.  Donor retention and revenue were down.  Long term impact of tax reform loomed over every fundraiser's halo. Today, Chicken Little and fundraisers across the land are smiling again.   The Fundraising Effectiveness Project released a favorable 3rd Quarter Fundraising Report.  Can we call it a comeback?

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Topics: growth in giving, fundraising revenue trends, FEP, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, Major Donors, Revenue, Trends, Retention, Major Donor Pipeline, mid-level upgrade

Your Fundraising Plan Isn't My Mom's Gravy

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2018

It is that time of year again. There is a lot I look forward to on Thanksgiving, from getting together with family to watching football and eating turkey, but the thing I look forward to most of all is gravy. You may not hold this condiment in as high regard as I do, but that is only because you have never tasted my mom's gravy. 

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Topics: Mail Strategies, Action Strategies, Budgeting, Fundraising Strategies

Quarterly fundraising report is grim

Posted by Ben Miller on 09/2018

The Quarterly Fundraising Effectiveness Project report was released this week and results are not looking good.  

Bottom-line, response and revenue are down compared to the same time in 2017.

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

What To Expect When You're Investing

Posted by Ben Miller on 06/2018

On average, half of a donor file is made up of new and reactivated donors. [the other half from existing donors that renew their support].

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Topics: Action Strategies, Lapsed Donors, Lapsed, Reactivation, Budgeting, Fundraising Strategies, New Donor Acquistion

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

How to Build an Investment Minded NonProfit

Posted by Ben Miller on 06/2018

Our money is on you. 

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

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

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

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

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: Action Strategies, Trends, Mail Strategies

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Fundraising Facts, Stats, Tips, and Tactics for brillant marketers [like you!]

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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