Analyzing trends in the fundraising world is important on many levels. It lets you know what’s happening in the industry, what that might mean for the future and how it compares to the past. Studying trends also lets you know where you stand compared to other organizations, allowing you to pinpoint what your organization is doing well and what it needs to work on.
“Watching trends is not only fascinating but important,” said Roger Craver, founder of DonorTrends and editor of The Agitator, last Thursday at Blackbaud’s 2010 Conference for Nonprofits held in Washington, D.C. “Are things up or down? What’s going on in each sector? What’s happening in acquisition, retention, net income, all the things we look at? The trends are important for you to know for your own organization and your work.”
During his session, ”Trends in the Nonprofit Industry” — which also was streamed live online — Craver and co-presenter Steve MacLaughlin, director of Internet solutions at Blackbaud, discussed trends unveiled in the Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving report and fielded questions from the audience.
MacLaughlin kicked things off by highlighting some of the more interesting trends from the report, most notably that large organizations do about 5.1 percent of their overall fundraising online, while for medium-sized organizations it’s about 7 percent and for small nonprofits about 7.3 percent. Also, comparing online gifts versus offline gifts, “traditionally online gifts are larger than offline,” he said, though it varies by vertical.
And looking at major giving online, Blackbaud found that about 77 percent of the organizations that were analyzed in the index had at least one major gift of $1,000 or more in 2009, with the largest online major gift coming in at $60,000 and the median being $3,500.
Considering these numbers and the continued growth of e-philanthropy, MacLaughlin stressed: “If you’re not prepared to act and have your segmentations, have your website ready to go, you will miss an opportunity. Things online, especially mobile, happen at such a rapid pace that you have to be prepared to respond to them. It’s very different than other channels.”