3 Things You Can Do Now in Response to Current Fundraising Trends
Each quarter I look forward to reading the Target Analytics Index of National Fundraising Performance to stay current with trends in the industry.
The latest study reports, "Declines in overall donor numbers have been driven primarily by declines in new donor acquisition. In 2013, new donor acquisition continues to decline. New donor acquisition declined a median 3.2% from 2012 to 2013. Only 37% of the organizations in the index had new donor population increases over the period."
But, if you are among the 37 percent of organizations bucking the trend, does this mean anything to you? The answer is absolutely yes. I would say that most of the large, traditional, direct-mail-driven charities rent their lists. If 63 percent of all organizations are seeing declines in new donor acquisition, then our list sources are shrinking.
I pulled six large, commonly used lists and compared the available names they have for rent and then compared that to the same lists from six years ago. I was shocked at the decrease in universes. Here is the data:
- International relief charity, -60 percent
- Seniors database, -41 percent
- Cancer coalition, -48 percent
- Child abuse charity, -20 percent
- Cancer charity, -34 percent
- National health charity, off the market
With fewer lists coming onto the rental market, list universes shrinking so significantly and retention rates dropping, maintaining the status quo and hoping things improve is a death spiral. There are three things you must do now to be successful in the long run. There is nothing breakthrough here, and every charity claims it is doing these well, but my research indicates otherwise.
The three strategies that follow will set you on a growth path to double-digit increases.
We know that with acquisition challenges and declining active donor bases, it is critical to plug the leaky bucket and retain more donors than we are today. According to the 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Project, every 100 donors gained in 2012 was offset by 105 in lost donors through attrition. Taking positive steps to reduce gift and donor losses is the least expensive strategy for increasing net fundraising gains.