Revenge of the Data Nerds!

For all you data geeks out there – we have a first peek at what the third quarter of giving looked like, and it is a mixed bag of good, troubling, hopeful and challenging.


Nothing us highly trained professional fundraisers and nonprofit leaders can’t handle, right?


The latest philanthropy study from our friends at the Fundraising Effectiveness Project gives our sector a few nuggets of information that can help us prep and execute for 2022. I’d suggest you skim through it when you have some trouble going to sleep, OR if you want some super highly academic findings – if that’s what your in to.


However, if you’re looking for highlights, I’ve got you covered:


1. The first three quarters of 2021 increased 1.4 percent compared with the same period a year earlier


Good news here. We’re not to 2020 numbers yet, but not seeing a sharp decline is a GREAT thing. I’ll take near stagnant growth over tumbling projections any day. And if your organization is looking at how the end of the year turned out, and these figures look familiar, kudos to you on being consistent. However, there is still this troubling fact that a lot of these numbers were buttressed by FEWER gifts that were LARGER in size. I


Do Good Better Tip: Make getting the number of donors into your nonprofit a higher priority for this upcoming year. Try to safeguard the donor attrition rates as best as you can, and by speaking or presenting your mission and impact to as many groups, businesses or conferences as possible, you’ll add names, contacts and ultimately friends that can help you raise money.


Speaking of donor attrition…


2. The number of new donors retained by nonprofits fell by 13.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2021 compared with the same period the previous year.


Yikes. We all know that donors are fickle and that they have, collectively, a case of “shiny object syndrome” as badly as any entrepreneur out there. Whatever is the newest viral issue, or media darling of the moment is the type of support that the public generally gravitates towards. If you’re looking at a downward trend of individual donors, put this issue on the priority list for 2022.


Do Good Better Tip: Pay attention and build better rapport with your first time donors. If you don’t have an “on boarding” process for your new supporters, spend some time before your next event or solicitation push to do so. No, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to connect a bit of gratitude and impact for what their gift just did for the community you serve.


Because your most frequent donors are stepping up….


3. The number of donors who gave seven or more times during the first three quarters of 2021 increased compared with the same period the previous year, while those who gave less frequently decreased.


What’s this mean for your organization? Get a second and third gift from your donors and they are more likely to stick with your nonprofit, give more money over time, and frankly, become a fantastic cheerleader for your mission without you asking them to. THESE individuals, who give multiple times a year (and it doesn’t matter at what level) are the FIRST folks you should be tapping into for leadership roles, testimonials for your social media and, when the time is right, at the top of the list for soliciting legacy and capital gifts.


Do Good Better Tip: Make sure you have a giving calendar created at the beginning of this year. Don’t worry about it being Pintristable (is that a word? It is now!) but make it practical for your supporters to have the opportunity to give more frequently throughout the year. No, you don’t have to pester them with asks, but you DO have to make a way to give available for different programs and services to your donors. Once they give, get them into your system of thanks and follow up on a consistent (not annoyingly bothersome) basis!


All in all: good news for the nonprofit world. Looking forward to seeing how the 4th Quarter went, but from the looks of our client’s budgets – I can glean a bit of positivity as we rock into the New Year.


Go get ‘em Gang!


-Patrick