Donors, Data, and Dollars: Benchmarks for Your Fundraising Work
Heather Yandow from Third Space Studio teaches you how to leverage your data to boost fundraising success.
Categories: Expert Webcast, How To
Donors, Data, and Dollars: Benchmarks for Your Fundraising Work TranscriptPrint Transcript
Okay, good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our expert webcast donors data and dollars benchmarks for your fundraising work. I’d like to just thank everyone for joining us today. Our presenter is Heather yendo. Heather brings 15 years of nonprofit Read More
Okay, good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our expert webcast donors data and dollars benchmarks for your fundraising work. I’d like to just thank everyone for joining us today. Our presenter is Heather yendo. Heather brings 15 years of nonprofit experience as a facilitator, trainer, coalition leader, project manager, you name it, she’s done it to third space studio, she helps organizations with strategic planning, business model design and implementing fundraising strategies. So before we get started, I want to just let you all know first that this refer this webcast is being recorded. We’ll email out the recording to everyone after in the next few days, and it will also be available in the DonorPerfect nonprofit newsroom. And in the DonorPerfect client knowledge base. I want to go over a few housekeeping items before we get started. So here, you’ll see on the left of my screen, this is what you guys should be seeing the Viewer window. That’s where you’ll see all the presentation slides and everything. And to the right, you’ll see the control panel. So this highlighted in red here is the audio options, you can either choose from dialing in by your phone or using your computer’s speakers and microphone. Everyone listening at the moment has already figured out how to either dial in or use their computer speakers. But if at any point during the webinar, the webinar, your audio stops working, you can try the other option. also highlighted here is this question box. So throughout the webinar, at any point, if you have a question, please submit your questions here. We’re not going to stop during the webinar. But at the end, we are going to try and save some time to ask or to answer as many of the questions submitted as possible. So please, throughout submit as many questions as as you that you think of. And lastly, highlighted in red over here is the little expand or collapse panel. So if during the webinar, you want to either open it up to ask a question or change your audio, you would click this to open and then collapse it when you’re done doing that. So with all that said, I’m going to hand it over to Heather now to get us started, Heather.
Great. Thank you so much for having me. And hello to everyone on the webinar. My name again is Heather Ando and I am here to talk about some research that I do every year called the individual donor benchmark report. So I’m actually going to start out with our first poll and ask you if you have heard of the benchmark report, I want to get a sense of who’s on the call, who has heard of this, and and who might even be in it. So the individual donor benchmark report looks at fundraising data for small and mighty nonprofits. Those are but there’s organizations with budgets under $2 million. This year, we had 119 organizations across the country take part, including 12 of your DonorPerfect colleagues. So I actually see that we have at least one person who is in the report, and I’m going to close the poll. Anyone else want to take the poll, thank you so much. I’ll close it and share the results. So we have I think, at least one person who’s in it, a few people who have heard about it, and a lot of folks who are excited to learn more. So thanks for taking that first poll. So let’s keep going. The individual donor benchmark report has been around for many years. And the reasons that I put it together is because I transitioned from working as a development staff or in a small nonprofit, to doing consulting work with other leaders have small nonprofits. And I got a lot of questions about fundraising and what people could expect to earn, what monthly getting programs might look like how they should be thinking about engaging their boards of directors. And when I went around and looked for that data, I had a really hard time finding it. At the time, there were a few reports that looked broadly at philanthropy in the United States. There’s also some great reports that look at specifically communications or online activities, but there’s really nothing, no data that I could find just for small nonprofits. Just focus on individual donors. So I have a specific interest In data, and in fundraising. So that’s why I picked this topic, and says, I’m having a little bit of trouble shifting the slide, if you could assist me. Sorry about that. That’s all right, great. So I have a love of data. I’m a trained mathematician, I have a degree in mathematics, I have a strong interest in fundraising. I did it as a career for many years, I continue to do it as a volunteer actually helped to found a giving circles in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I’m from. And so when I saw that there was this lack of data for small nonprofits, I thought, well, I can solve this problem, I can ask a few of my friends and colleagues to share some of their information about what their fundraising programs look like. So I began in looking at data in 2011. And starting their look, just in the first year at North Carolina, and then branched out to look broadly across the country in 2012. What you’re seeing are just the infographics to give you a sense of the data that we’ve found in the past couple of years, we continue to look at data from a number of sources. And over the years, found more and more organizations who were willing to be part of the program, and part of the project. This year, we found 119 organizations across the country, who were willing to provide us with a little bit of a peek inside, at their fundraising programs. So I want to share with you just a few of the key findings, we’re going to dig into each of these key findings from our infographic here, and how you can think about using some of this data in your own work. So to start, I want to share a few of the big questions that we organize our data around. Because I really believe that data in the abstract is interesting, but not particularly useful. And we want to define useful data. And the way that we did that is really thinking about the questions that organizations like you might be trying to answer. So here are our big questions. We asked, how much can we be raising from individual donors? You and your organization may have that question. We also really wanted to know big picture. How are organizations with budgets under $2 million doing? Are their budgets overall getting bigger or smaller? How was their dependence on foundations changing over time? We wanted to know what people were doing in terms of fundraising plans. Let him know a little bit about retention rates. How many donors can we expect to come back year over year? How much can we be raising online? We also asked about recurring donor programs, those monthly or quarterly program, how people are communicating with and talking to their supporters, both donors and potential donors, what the staffing looks like. So this is both folks who are on staff, board members and volunteers, who really makes all of this work happen. What’s the technology I can use to support my fundraising, including databases, how the data compares to other reports, and a little bit about how we got this data. If you’re intrigued, and you want to learn a little bit more, you maybe want to download the full report. There is a link there at the bottom where you can download the report and the infographic. We’ll also be sending that out in the follow up email. So let’s dig into some of our key findings. So the first key finding, and a question that I get a lot is how much should I expect to raise from individual donors. And we looked at this statistic in a number of ways. But one of the most telling was percentage of your budget that comes from individuals. And what we found is that the average is 34%. So about a third of revenue comes from individual donors. Now the question I often get is, what’s the right percentage to come from individual donors? What’s the best percentage? And I don’t know what the best percentage is? It really depends on many factors for your organization. But I can tell you that this is the average. I can also tell you that this has been the average for the past several years of combat of collecting this data and analyzing it. So it has trended to be about 34 to 36% Among all the organizations year after year. With that being said, there are a few factors that change this statistic. So when we break down the data by size of organization, we can see that the individual donor revenue percentage changes. So that top orange bar is the overall average. And then as you can see down the left side, we get more and bigger circles. But as as size of organization increases, so our smallest organizations in the study tended to have a larger percentage of their revenue raised online. And the largest organizations tended to have around 30%. And that, too, is a trend that we have seen year after year, is that as organizations grow, they seem to tend towards raising about 30% of their revenues from individual donors. Of course, that does really change when we look at business models, how you generate income, and how you spend it. We’re really looking at the fundraising side. So at how how we generate income. And the data here, we broke out in a couple of different ways. So that does show you a lot of data, but we will break it down. This is individual donor revenue by issue focus. And we asked people what are the issues you work on? This is a standard set of categories that goes along the bottom of the graph. So environmental conservation, to arts and humanities, you can probably find yourself on that on this graph. The bars on the left hand side are the number of donors. So on average organizations had about 600 donors. But that changes greatly based on the kind of organization you are. And on average there, they raise about $533 per donor. This is all individual donors, including online offline major donors recurring donors $533 a year,
you can see at the very bottom is that individual donor percentage, so 34%, for the average, and then you can see how it changes by type of organization. So I want to point out just a couple of these that are really interesting to me, they might be interesting to you. So when we look at health organizations, those focus on often providing direct services around healthcare, they have a smaller percentage of revenue coming from individual donors. They also have fewer donors and a smaller average gift. The same is true for arts, culture, and humanities organizations. And my the way that I interpret this data is that these organizations are less dependent on individual donors, they likely have more support from government, or private foundations. Rather than having a large pool of individual donors. Although they still have a good number of individual donors, we can look at the animal welfare category, that is our anomaly on the other side, and see that they tend to have a lot more donors, almost twice the number on average, and a relatively a slightly smaller average gift. But they raised a lot more of their overall revenue 73% down at the bottom from individual donors. So again, this is a business model thing. Animal welfare organizations have a lot more donors, they’re much more interested in and able to raise money from many individuals in their community, I want to look at one other way to break down this data. And that’s donor revenue by strategy. So this is how you do the work, not the topic on which you do it. And this is set up in much the same way we have number of donors, an average gift and the top and percent revenue from individual donors. And you’ll see different categories of strategy. So public policy, advocacy, organizing, direct service, capacity building, re granting. So here are the interesting outliers are in advocacy and organizing. And what we see is that the percent revenue from individual donors is in the in the span of the average, but they have a lot more donors. So what that says to me is that these organizations that have an interest in building a large base of people through organizing through building advocacy networks, are doing a good job at converting folks into donors. And so they tend to have a larger base, and a somewhat advocacy side a somewhat smaller, average gift. So hopefully this provides a little bit more detail a little bit more color to that 34%. Again, you can definitely download the full report that has a lot of breakdowns by these different categories. Let’s move on to the next key finding. So we had a question about how many donors stick around from year to year. So what we found is that organizations retain about 60% of their donors from year to year. So if you had 100 donors last year, 60 of them would give again this year. So I want to ask real fast, quick poll. Do you know your retention rate? Yes, no, we’re not sure. retention rate is actually something that I didn’t ask for in the benchmark report for several years. Because it was really hard for organizations to calculate it. Thankfully, now, databases make that a lot easier. And it’s one of those really important statistics to track. So I’m going to close the poll now. And share the results. So we have about a third of you know, your retention rate. Four out of 10. Don’t and about a third of you are not quite sure. So for those of you who do know, your retention rate, a follow up question, what is your retention rate? For that third of you? who know your retention rate? Where does it sit? Give them just a couple more minutes, couple more seconds to respond.
All right. Look at this results. So we have a mix here. We have some folks who have 70 plus some people who are right around what we thought our average, which was 60%. So 20, about a quarter of you just over that a quarter of you just under that. And a third of you, under 50%. Thank you for taking that poll. So we see that 60% of folks are retained from year to year. If you have a retention rate that’s much higher, so that 13% of folks who have a 70 plus percent retention rate, that could be the case that you’re doing a really excellent job at building relationships, you are communicating well with your donors that they love you and they’re coming back year to year. It may also mean that you’re not doing a great job at bringing in new donors. Because we know that when new donors come in, they have a lower retention rate. So if you’re if you’re doing a good job at bringing in a lot of new donors, often that depresses your retention rate a little bit. But same with the folks under 50%. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, it could be that you’re doing a fantastic job at bringing in new donors who are harder to keep in. It may also be that you’re not doing a great job at all the different tactics you could use to retain those donors. So if you’re over or under the 60%, it doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad. But there are more questions that you could ask about how you’re doing. The really interesting thing with this piece of data is, as I showed you before, data seems to shift when we look at it in terms of budget size, issue focused strategy. This number just 60% did not change no matter how I divided up the data. So I thought for sure bigger organizations that have more funding for development staff and activities would have a better retention rate. That wasn’t true. I thought for sure organizations that had a membership program would have a higher retention rate. That wasn’t true. I thought people who had more of their donor base participating in Sustainer programs or recurring donations would have a higher retention rate. That wasn’t true. So it’s a piece of data that I’m really interested in and looking at more. The other thing I’ve heard after, after finding this is some folks are really surprised at how low this is that you’re retaining 60% But that means you’re losing four out of 10 donors every year. And so finding new donors is is it’s becoming clear that that is really critical. There’s definitely work to be done to retain donors, but doing that work to recruit new potential donors, convert them to donors and build your relationships with them is even more important. And let’s move on.
Yeah, interrupt for one second, if that’s okay, just based on the poll data, there was a lot of you know, a lot of nonprofits seem to have trouble knowing what exactly their donor retention is. And I just wanted to point out quickly that, you know, a lot of attendees are DonorPerfect clients, and that we have an easy way in DonorPerfect to calculate retention. So that’s something we’ll make a point of, including in our follow up email on how people using DonorPerfect can get their retention numbers pretty easily. So I just wanted to point that out to the attendees.
Fantastic. Thank you, Sam. And one, one thing that I should also mention is that DonorPerfect, in addition to having a number of people participate in the benchmark report this year, the database itself got really high marks and actually was one of our database all stars. So the fact that you have a retention rate calculator should not surprise me. And I encourage all of you to take advantage of that, because it’s a fantastic tool in the database. Anything on? Oftentimes, I get questions about how who we should be thinking about raising money from you all who work with organizations and maybe serve on boards might hear well, we just need to find, you know, the next Oprah Winfrey or who have a connection to Bill Gates, we often think when we think about individual donors, of just those big major donors. But what we have found for the past couple of years is half of individual donor revenue comes from folks giving less than $1,000. So $1,000, not, so we might consider our major donors, less than $1,000, we might consider kind of everyday donors, and half of our revenue comes from them. So making sure that as you think about creating a fundraising plan or focusing your your efforts in the coming year, you are paying attention to those donors. So most organizations are generating 50% of their revenue from them. If we look at that in a little more detail, we can see that every day donors, that’s what I’m calling donors under $1,000. On average, organizations have about 500, maybe one of them, and they’re giving about $208. On average, everyone was giving up to $999. major donors, there’s $1,000 and above, organizations, on average have about 30 of them. And they give right around $4,000 each. That’s on average. Obviously, there’s some fluctuation there. You can see, yes,
quick clarifying question, because we’ve had a couple of attendees ask this first, is that $1,000 number you’re giving it the annual the annual amount they donate? It is? Okay, great. And then the second one, there were some just some brief questions on sort of what qualifies when you when you say individual donors, if that I guess the the formal definition of what that all encompasses?
Yeah, good question. So individual donor, what I mean is, if one person chooses to make a gift to you, or one family unit chooses to make a gift to you, that’s an individual donation. So for many of you any contributions that would come in through direct mail, from individuals, anything that would come in through email, sometimes we have donations that come in, through a Family Foundation, or they may come from a an individual, but written in a business account for someone, as an individual may make a gift to you. But the check may say their business name on it, I count those as individual donors, because for me, it’s about the relationship that you have with somebody, not what’s written at the top of their check. So if you have a one on one relationship with somebody, and they can choose whether or not to give you that gift, you don’t have to go through a board of directors. You don’t have to go through a formal proposal process with a big Foundation, if you have a one on one relationship, and that’s how you raise the money. That to me is an individual donor gift. So that’s what these organizations are using here. Great, thanks. Thank you for that. You’re welcome. One other quick clarification here is is the use of the word major donors. So major donors mean means different things for different people. When I was first starting out, we had no major donors in my organization. So we decided $100, and up was going to be a major donor, because that was the point at which I could give all of those people some kind of special attention. For many organizations, it’s $500, or $1,000. And for some, it is much more. But it’s really kind of that dividing line where you want to be sure to give folks a little bit more, you want to invest a little bit more in that relationship. And that does vary greatly by organization. So let’s move on. I want to share with you what we’re finding about online donations. Another big question that I often get, how much can we raise online, what we have seen for the past few years is about one out of five individual donor dollars is raised online. So if you’re raising $100,000, from individuals, you’re likely to be raising around $20,000 of that online. That statistic has been steady year after year, and actually been creeping up a little bit. So a few years ago, it was 16 17%. Now it’s 20. We expect to see that grow. Not astronomically fast, but we do expect to see that grow. So on the one hand, that’s really exciting for all of us who are fundraisers, a lot of folks I work with, really look forward to the time when they can get rid of direct mail or where they can do a lot of things by email. But we know that that’s really challenging. We know that response rates are lower for these online asks. And one of the things that the data found is, we know response rates are lower, but also we see that average gifts are lower. So another set of a lot of data for you all. What we’re looking at here is overall, online giving by size of organization. So let’s just focus on what’s in orange right here. On the left hand side, you see the average online gift. And on the right hand side, you see average offline gift. So immediately, you can see here that the average offline gift is almost four times the size of the average online gift. So what we know is that if we’re converting people from being offline givers to online givers, we’re raising a higher percentage of our revenue online, we may actually be losing out on some funding there. So we know that the offline gifts is much higher. So I just urge you all to think about that, as you’re moving more and more of your giving to online portals with this has to me is that relationship building, and the work that you do offline to reach out to people, the direct mail the in person meetings, that really matters. And so it’s just a word of caution, as you’re thinking about moving online is that you want to make sure that your average gifts don’t start decreasing. I worked with an organization a few years ago who really wanted to get rid of their direct mail program. And there were lots of good reasons to do that many of us would like to give that up. And they decided to look at it as an experiment. And one of the key pieces of data that they wanted to collect was average gift, because they really wanted to make sure that they weren’t raising less money as a consequence of moving online. So it’s just something to keep in mind. Next key finding this is about how many of your board members are active in fundraising. I should have put in a poll question about this. So what we have found for the past few years is that 40%, four out of 10 Board members are active in a significant way. And the actual question that I put in the survey is, how many of your board members are active beyond just sending thank you notes, or making Thank you calls? You know, those are nice things, but they’re not significant in terms of building new relationships, strengthening and current relationships. So I wanted to know how many board members were introducing you to new potential donors, attending meetings with your staff, during meetings by themselves hosting events. What we see is that this is four out of 10. This has been this way for a couple of years. What this means to me is that if you’ve got four out of 10 Board members doing this work, you’re actually doing a really good job. Even if you feel like you’re a or hitting your head against a wall, you are doing your your average in terms of engaging your board. There’s a lot of development directors I work with who really want to get to 100%. And that’s a fantastic goal. But I think for a lot of organizations, it’s not realistic. And for a lot of boards, particular board compositions is not realistic. So what my advice that I give that goes along with this statistic is really to think about if you’ve got four out of 10 of your board members, or 40%, of whatever you’ve got, who are really wanting to be engaged in fundraising, and are already active, then build from there, really focus on what’s working. And you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. All right, my last key finding, and this has been, I think, one of the most impactful findings, the best way to ensure that you have fundraising success is to have a fundraising plan. So a couple of years ago, actually, I’m gonna ask the poll question first. So I tell the story, do you have a fundraising plan? So go ahead and put in your votes there. So a few years ago, I had been collecting this data for a couple of years, I was really curious. What was it that led to fundraising success. So was it having more board members engaged with it, how having a development director who had been around a long time, or a development director who was paid more as kind of a leading indicator of how much people invest in their fundraising, we looked at a number of different factors actually worked with someone who’s even more of a data geek than I am. And he crunched the data in 18 different ways. And finally came back to me and said, The only thing of significance that I could find was if people have a fundraising plan, if they do have a fundraising plan, than the investments that they put in, in visiting donors, engaging their board members paying their development director more, those investments pay off and more revenue. If they don’t have a fundraising plan, there’s no correlation between greater investment and greater fundraising revenue. So let’s look at how many of you have a fundraising plan, happy to report 72% have a fundraising plan. That’s fantastic. For the 17% of you who don’t having a fundraising plan does not have to be a huge heavy lift. But doing a little bit of reflection about what you’ve been successful at in the past and what your goals are for the future can be really helpful. What’s funny is that the data that we collected found that exactly 71% of organizations have a fundraising plan. So you all are right on par with the broader data.
So I mentioned that investments in fundraising, and having a fundraising plan lead to better results, let’s say just a few of the things that we found about the impact of fundraising plans. So here’s a few statistics, when we looked at the top is most organizations here the top in blue, is those with a fundraising plan, the bottom and green are those without a fundraising plan. Shall we follow that? Overall, they had about the same budget size. But organizations with a plan, raise a lot more money from individuals 36% revenue versus just 27. They had almost twice as many individual donors, and they had a significantly higher average gift. So this was really compelling to us. What we have found over the past few years of asking this question that I think is really interesting, is that although we have 71% of folks who say they have a fundraising plan, not everyone is actually using their fundraising plan. So we asked, that’s great. They have a fundraising plan, how often do you look at it about 17% They look at it all the time. But the majority of people said, they look they checked in on a regular basis or only looked at it a couple of times a year. And clear this data also includes about one out of 10 who mostly sat on the shelf. So what that says to me is that the act of planning is what causes the great results. It’s the act of reflecting, of planning out your year of identifying some goals that is what really gives you the benefit? The written documents, that’s actually the plan, that is not necessarily the most important part. It’s the conversations and the strategy that you have behind the plan. So we also asked folks in this data in this report, what makes up your fundraising plan? fundraising plan is one of those terms that can include many, many different things. So it will be thought almost everybody has some kind of calendar of activities. And most people have their big picture fundraising strategies and goals, what they want to raise from different sources. Some people get much more detailed into all the fundraising activities, who’s responsible for them? And when, and about half of folks do an assessment of the previous year’s fundraising results. So if you don’t have a fundraising plan, or your do you do, and you’re thinking about how to improve it, there’s a little bit more information about what folks put in their fundraising plans. So I want to share just a couple of things about who participated in this survey, in case you’re curious. So we had people from all over the country. And you’ll see I’m based in North Carolina, there’s still a few folks in North Carolina, but we did a really, we had great participation from all over the country. We also had a good range of organizations, ages and sizes. So again, these indicate the different sizes of organizations we circled around the bottom. We also had a really nice mix of issue focused and fundraising focus. So we asked people, where’s your fundraising focused? Are you local, regional, national, international. So some great diversity in the organizations that we work with. So I am a data nerd, and I love this stuff. But one of the questions that I often get is kind of So what now you’ve got some data. So what So here’s a few thoughts on how you can use this data and other data that you are collecting in your organization. So one great way to use the data is to really understand what you’ve done in the past. So looking back, and crunching some numbers, about your fundraising, or your programs, and really understanding what’s happened. Again, basing this around some key questions you have about your work could be really useful. Even if those questions are as simple as what was our retention rate last year? What was our average guest last year? In that it’s also really helpful to identify where you’ve been successful. So what are your real strengths as a fundraising program, you may have a really, you may have a low retention rates, but you’re doing a really great job at building your recurring giving program. And so seeing where you have success can be really helpful can also be really motivating for your team. Also thinking about where are your challenges? I think many times that’s where we focus first. So I want to encourage you to focus on success. But definitely here are some of your areas of challenge. One other piece of this that I really encourage you to think about is how you communicate your success and challenges to other people. So one of the tools here is a fundraising dashboard. You all may be familiar with this from other resources. One of my favorites is blue avocado, they have a great article, nonprofit dashboard and signal light. So here you’re using data to really track your target and your progress. And this is what your fundraising dashboard looks like. So you would say we want to have some new foundations or corporations, our target is 10. This year, six months ago, we were at six. Now we’re at eight, eight gets coded yellow, because it needs a little attention. Then look at new individual donors who wanted to get 111 months, six months ago, we were only at 11. That wasn’t okay, it got red. Now we’re back on track. And so it’s green. So this is a really simple form of data visualization. Kind of data is at its simplest. But what it does is it tells people where to pay attention. So instead of just putting out a whole bunch of data, instead of giving people all of your reports with all of your numbers that you and maybe one other person can make sense of. This is a way to really drill down and give people the top line information. So that’s The Matrix, and then coding it with these colors helps people really focus in. So you might give this to the board or give this to your staff and say, Okay, here’s where we are. The question for us to consider today is, how do we find some new foundation and corporate donors, let’s have a brainstorm about what we might be able to do. So we need to talk to, so it’s really allows you to focus your board and staff fundraising efforts, using data to say, here’s where we really need help. In my experience, board members and staff members want to help. And oftentimes, if you don’t tell them where to pay attention, they will pick something themselves. And it’s not always the most useful thing. So I was on staff of an organization. And we were having a discussion about the budget for the coming year. And I wasn’t doing a good job at really framing up the questions that the board needed to answer. And so we had a very long conversation about our long distance calling plan. Because board members really wanted to be engaged, they really wanted to have something to talk about, they really wanted to be helpful. And that was one place that they knew they knew something about it. And so they wanted to chime in there. So that’s one way to use the data. Couple other things to mention, one is creating fundraising plans with reasonable forecasts. So you all may be coming up into the time of year where you’re going to be looking at your fundraising plan, and your projections for 2017. If you had a sense of how many donors you have now, the average gift those donors give and your retention rate, you can create a pretty good guess at how much you can raise next year. So using that data really helps you create reasonable forecasts. Oftentimes, we look at the budget and say, Okay, we raised $25,000, from individuals last year, do you think we can raise $45,000 next year? And the answer is, maybe. But if you have some data, it can build out those projections, to have a better sense of if if $45,000 is a reasonable goal. And the last thing I want to encourage you all to do is design some experiments. So we often think about experiments when we talk about sending out mail pieces and, and seeing what works best or sending out emails and maybe testing out different subject lines. But you can design experiments around a number of things. I mentioned earlier, this experiment towards moving folks from direct mail to email. So here’s a little form that has that that sample experiment in it. Our our goal is to retain current and direct mail donors at a lower cost. This box right here in the middle.
We also want to think about what are our assumptions, vendors are willing to give through email, and we’ll give the same amount. That’s that average gift. And it will take less time and cost less. Let me here we have a whole bunch of different data on the right hand side that we want to track. Everything from really clear fundraising statistics to costs, the staff time, many of us don’t, or don’t want to track staff time. And then a little piece here to create an action plan where the last few pieces are, collect and analyze your data. And think about what you want to design next. What’s your next experiment? So I want to pause here and to ask spam to share any questions that have come in.
Yeah, thank you, Heather. Great job. So as I said, we have been taking questions throughout. And if you have any questions that you have yet to submit, we encourage you to submit them now. But I have a number here to get us started. So Heather, the first thing and I’ll start with this, because you had just been talking about this most recently, and there were a number of questions. And I know you’ve you sort of already touched on this, but I think people are looking for I guess the the most clear definition of a good plan or a successful fundraising. And I’m sure there’s not a one size fits all answer. But if you could, I guess shed a little light on maybe what you’ve seen that sort of defines a successful plan and leads to you know, increase donations.
Yeah, absolutely. So a couple of thoughts here. One is that I think the elements of a good plan. One is to do some analysis of what happened last year and why so good. Seeing some of these statistics, but not just looking at them, and accepting them as they are, but really digging in a little bit more to why things happen, what was successful, what was challenging. So that’s the first part. The second part is looking to the to the coming year identifying what your goals are. And I think for fundraising, it’s easy to stick to goals and just have numbers. So we want to find this many donors, this many new donors, we want to raise $100,000. I would also encourage you, as you’re thinking about goals for the coming year, to think about, what are the goals you have around fundraising infrastructure. So maybe you want to learn how to use your database better? Maybe you want to have a better system for keeping in touch with major donors. Also, think about what goals do you have around engaging other folks in your organization in the fundraising? What goals do you have around building the culture of philanthropy and the culture of fundraising in your organization. So you may have a goal related to how many board members participate, you have a goal around doing some training for yourself or your staff or your board. So big picture, having a set of goals. And then the third is doing some kind of mapping of how all of this lays out over the year. So some people if they want to do, let’s just say 50 donor visits over the course of 27 team, they might lay off if they’re going to do for every month, some people say you know what, summer is the best time for me to do this, I know I can get out of the office. So I’m going to put all my daughter visits in summer off, if we have a sense of what our busy programmatic time bar when we got our border treat, mapping all of that on the calendar, it’s going to make our fundraising plan more realistic and more successful. So three things, looking at the past year to figure out what happened and why setting some goals for the coming year. And putting those goals out on the calendar. Now one caveat, this one size does not fit all, it’s totally true. So it’s just you as the development staff. That may be you may be able to get away with just kind of big picture, shorthand kind of notes that you understand. If you’re engaging a whole team of people around doing this individual donor work, your fundraising plan may need to be much more detailed, you may need to lay out all of the timeline and all of the steps that need to happen before your urine direct mail piece goes out. So the level of detail and the kind of focus might shift.
Gotcha. Thank you. All right. So another question we have here is sort of related to, I guess some of the data that you may have, but was not in the presentation. So do you have any data or I guess maybe plan to get data as far as how nonprofits would say either the two that were mentioned, were peer to peer fundraising, and anything related to mobile fundraising. And if those are that impacts, either positively or negatively on on the nonprofits, I guess taking advantage of those.
I don’t have data that drills down that far. I will say that, I would imagine that m plus R might have some data on peer to peer and on mobile, they put out a report really just focused on online fundraising, advocacy and communications. So they might be a great resource. And at the very back of the end of the report, there’s actually a section of how our results compared to other reports, and amplifiers one of the reports we compare to and it’s a good resource for for finding more data.
Good, that’ll be that’s, that’s good, something that you can check out. Another thing so a couple of questions that come in related to earlier in the presentation, you add some breakdowns by size, and sort of what what qualifies or what metrics are you using to sort of say a small organization a mid size and a large and whether it’s, you know, number of donors or total donation dollars, how are you breaking that out?
Yes, so I’m breaking it down by organizational revenue. So how how big is the organization, small that one circle is under 200,000. Medium is between that two circles between 200 and just under 503. Circles are large are half a million to just under a million and super. The four circles are between a million and Just under 2 million.
Got it? All right, good. Thank you. And another thing. So there were a couple of questions about sort of defining retention and how that’s calculated. So one of the examples posed was if you have a donor who gives this year, and then they don’t for the next two years, but again, in the following year, are they being classified as a retain donor or a new donor? And I guess, your reports, or is there an industry standard for measuring retention rate?
Oh, that’s an excellent question. So what I have seen is that most organizations, if you have not given for two years, you are a lapsed donor. And so when you come back in most of the time organizations do not count you as a new donor. Your laps, but you were already in the database, you were already part of the donor pool. So you’re coming back in. I asked for retention rate, how many of your donors last year gave again, and I suspect that for most folks, they would have included some of those, those few lapsed donors who came back again, might have impacted the retention rate a little bit. And what one of the things we know is that particularly for small nonprofits, it’s hard to get that really perfect retention rate number. So one is if your database calculates it for you, digging in a little bit more to what the database considers donor retention. The way that I have told folks to calculate retention rates would include those last donors in the new donor piece, so it’s a little fuzzy there. But it’s an excellent question, and definitely something that you all should consider. As you’re thinking about fundraising planning, thinking about how you engage with donors is what for you as a last donor? When do people get off your mailing list? When when How do you How long do you email them or mail them before you decide that they’re gone?
Got a great, thank you. One question here references the slide, the statistic you gave that 34% of donations come from individuals. So the question was about where does the other 66% come from? Those other sources? And is the individual donors, the biggest single sources? There’s something or one of the other sources bigger than what comes from individuals?
Ah, okay, good question. So 34% of all organizational revenue comes from individual. Other sources for nonprofit would include government grants and reimbursements, private foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, fee for service work, for those are all in the mix for organizations. What we know is that by and large, a majority of nonprofit funding comes from individual donors, but but for each individual organization, in this study, I don’t have revenue breakdown beyond individual donors. So for some, it’s definitely going to be private foundations. For others, it’ll be mostly fee for service and it really just depends on what kind of work they’re doing.
Got it? All right. Um, one question was in relation to sort of monthly giving and the the nonprofits that have a monthly giving program set up, I guess, a if they, you know, if they’re distinguishing themselves as as retaining donors better, and other methods of using or other retaining donors, excuse me?
Good. So the organizations that had strong monthly giving Recurring Donation Programs didn’t necessarily have better retention rates. That was one of the things that that really surprised me. One statistic you all might be interested in is that overall, the average size of a recurring donor program, about one in 10 donors is giving through some kind of monthly or quarterly program across all organizations, and the average annual gift is significantly higher. It’s about $750 a year, so higher than the regular average gift. So just a little bit of grounding there. What we know that we’re organizations that have strong retention rates. They communicate with their donors, often during the year, not just when they need resources, not just when they have asked, they do ask more often. So it’s not just one email or one piece of mail that comes a year, it’s several. So you’re giving folks a chance to give and multiple times of the year. And you’re really focused on how you can build the relationship with the donor. So how are you learning about the donor and using that information to craft your app? We often do this with major donors. So if you are sitting down with somebody, you’re learning about their interests. And next time you ask them, you might ask them based on what you learned, you might ask them for a specific program. We don’t do that as much with the broad base of individual donors. But the more that you can tailor your asks and really talk about the work that you’re doing, that they’re enabling, and that they really care about, the better off, you’ll be.
Great. All right, and we’re running close to the end here. But I think we have time for one more question that I’ve seen questions and comments on related to matching gifts. So I saw one comment of someone saying that they had begun using matching gifts and seen success with it. I guess, do you have data that, you know, reinforces that idea. And then also, you know, if you have an idea of what percent of individual gifts are typically, you know, able to be matched by an employer?
Hmm, those good questions. Unfortunately, I don’t have data on that I am curious if data exists. What I do know and as seen in other studies, so studies about the way people behave is that there are three things, three kinds of tools that can help increase donations increased response rate, one is a match. So if you’re able to say for every dollar we bring in, it’ll be matched one to one or two to one by a generous donor. The second is a really clear goal and a reason for that goal. So we need to raise $10,000 By the end of the week, because of X, Y, and Z. And the third is a time limit. So in the next 24 hours, or the next week, we need to raise something. And if you can combine all three, it’s even more powerful. So that has been shown in kind of experiments, and lots of anecdotal evidence was being really powerful.
Okay, all right. Well, we are up against it. It is 359. So, Heather, I’d like to thank you that was that was great information and answering the questions and everything. As I mentioned earlier, we’re going to send out the recording of this to everyone who registered. So we’ll look for an email from us in the next couple of days. We’ll also be including a link for you to get the individual donor benchmark report that Heather referenced throughout the presentation. And also keep an eye out for an email from us about our next expert webcast on December 8. It’ll be from constant contact on your last minute year and fundraising ideas. So again, thank you, Heather. I did a great job and thank everyone for attending today. And you know, have a good rest of the day.
Thanks so much.Read Less