Donor Insight. Fundraising Action.

Don't Call It a Comeback

Posted by Ben Miller on 11/2018
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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?

Where We Left Off

After the end of year push in 2017, there were two straight quarters where donations lagged behind the prior year.  At the end of the second quarter the number of donor responses from January to June 2018 was down -6.6% compared to 2017 and donations were down -2.1%. In fact every metric in the second quarter report was below where it had been the year prior.  

Where Are We Now

There has been a comeback in both donors and dollars in the 3rd quarter of 2018. Revenue is 2.6% ahead of the prior year and the number of donors donating also improved - moving from -6.6% to -4.3%.  Despite all quarterly metrics making gains, there are only two metrics in the FEP Quarterly report that made enough gains to move to positive number.

  • Revenue generated from Major Donors (Donors giving $1,000+) is now +3.1% ahead of the prior year
  • Repeat Retained Donors is +0.9% ahead of 2017

Before you break out the champagne there are a few things you should consider:

1. 3rd quarter 2017 was relatively weak despite disaster donations.

2. 4th quarter 2017 was exceptional.  Led by the $1,000+ donors with a 47% increase over the 4th Quarter of 2016. In order to beat last year we would need to see another exceptional 4th quarter.

3. It still remains unclear just how the new tax reform will impact donations from small, medium, and large donors, all three of which realized gains last year.

What does this mean for me?

Don't let this valuable resource just be more useless numbers.  Here are 3 steps you can take today to impact your fundraising results:

1. Dare to Compare

Check your numbers to see how you compare against yourself and the sector. Three vital metrics you should track:

  • Number of New Donors
  • Donor Retention
  • Revenue Change for your Major Donors

Click the link below to get your own free metrics or contact us and we will run a free report for you.  [it takes minutes and costs nothing!]

How Does My Org Compare?

2. Put This In Your Pipe 

The importance of large donations is becoming greater every year. Building a pipeline to cultivate and engage your mid-level donors will keep a constant stream of new candidates for your major gift officers.  Download a case study or send us a message so we can connect you with experts that are building these success stories every day. 

Show Me The Strategy

3. Engage Your Major Donors.

With the smaller number of large donors providing the overall bump in revenue for the sector, you better make sure your biggest donors hear from you this holiday season. Treat these donors for what they are, a huge part of your success. Whether it is a personal phone call, a visit, or a handwritten thank you card, connecting with these donors to maintain your relationship with these important donors is a must. 

34% of the year's donations come in the 4th quarter [most of those donations received in December].  Now is the time to make sure you are making the most out of your data. If you need help schedule a session with one of our fundraising analyst to help you turn your donor data into donations.

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

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