2 Data-Powered Steps to Boost Donations

Small Organization FundraisingGuest blogger Heather Yandow brings more than a decade of experience as an outreach coordinator, coalition leader, project manager, and fundraiser to Third Space Studio’s clients.

The latest Individual Donor Benchmark Report is now available with groundbreaking findings to support small nonprofits with their fundraising efforts. The survey compiles annual fundraising data from organizations with budgets under $2 million to highlight trends nonprofits can use to spark their own success.

This year’s findings taps two clear paths to successful fundraising:

  1. Working from a plan strengthens individual donor fundraising for small and medium-sized organizations.
  2. Organizations retain just 60% of their donors from year to year, so finding new donors is a critical element of fundraising on an ongoing basis.

The Key to Success

If you want to raise money from individuals, you need a fundraising plan. Organizations using a fundraising plan raised one-third more money from individuals, activated almost double the number of donors, and garnered significantly larger average gifts.

Build your plan around these three core ingredients:

  • Reflection on past performance. How did you do last year? Why? What does this tell you about what this year’s work should be?
  • Your big picture goals for the year. Go beyond dollars raised to include goals for new donors, donor visits, or monthly giving wins.
  • A work plan. Map out your goals to a detailed work plan and calendar to ground your plans in reality. Your work plan helps keep you on track when other activities begin to crowd your calendar.

Importance of Retaining Donors

One of the most important data points for individual donor fundraising is your organization’s retention rate: the percentage of last year’s donors who give again this year. With that information, you can judge the success of your donor engagement work, project future fundraising growth, and create the right goals for new donor recruitment.

In this year’s study, I found that the retention rate is about 60%—6 out of 10 donors who gave last year will give again this year. Although there may be room to increase retention rates, many organizations need to focus on finding new prospects and converting them to donors.

A strong marketing strategy supports donor cultivation and retention. Consider how you open the door to prospects, whether through community events, membership incentives, your website, staff contact, or other avenues. Most importantly, how you are asking these potential first-time donors to give?

STOP! Download this plug-and-play nonprofit marketing plan template now.

The challenge is that if you are successful at growing your donor base, you’ll need to find more and more new donors every year to keep up with donor loss. The best way to ensure that your organization wins. Involve everyone – board, staff, communications, and volunteers to identify, cultivate, and ask for support. We are so much stronger together.

Get more guidance for strengthening your fundraising, and the data that supports it. Download the Individual Donor Benchmark Report today.

Guest Blogger on September 29, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 1 comment
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