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.
So how did we do? As a sector not so bad.
Revenue grew by 4% from 2016, after lagging behind through the first 9 months of the year. Amazingly we saw this growth fueled by a huge spike in giving from donors giving above $1,000 in the fourth quarter. These donors were tracking behind the prior year, down -8% through September. In the fourth quarter alone, the $1,000+ donors generated an astonishing 47% more in donations than they did in the fourth quarter of the prior year. Thus bringing this group 4% ahead for the full year.
Some other bright spots were an increase in donor retention rates nearly across the board. After seeing a ten year decline in the overall retention rate, it actually grew by 1.5% going from 45.7% up to 46.3% in 2017. The Repeat Donor Retention Rate grew from 62% to 64% and the New Donor Retention Rate grew from 31.4% to 31.8%.
The number of new donors saw a sharp decline, and while the retention/recapture rates were able to offset this decline, this could spell trouble for the sector as a whole. An info-graphic pulling out the highlights is pasted below and can be downloaded here. You can also go to the FEP web site and download the full report here.
How did you do in 2017? Please share insights from your organization and let us know what you did right. Don't know your numbers? Calculate them today for free.