How Can You Better Understand Your Donors?
As you know I’m focused on working with nonprofits to help them grow their individual donors and monthly donors to higher levels. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new statistics and trends in giving, especially for those groups.
Needless to say, when I heard about a wonderful new study from Neon One, called “Donors: Understanding the Future of Individual Giving,” I was so excited.
It pulls together a bunch of other studies into one easy-to-read document, with lots of graphs, charts and insights from fundraisers and thought leaders in the industry.
For example, did you know that more than 43% of donors give to five or more charities?
Did you know that 39% of donors first volunteer at a charity and then donate? This diffuses the myth that you can’t ask volunteers to make a gift! Yes, you can.
The report also addresses how donors make a donation. For example, this graph shows that 31% of gifts come via mail and 29% come to the website by another channel (mail, phone, email, Facebook ads combined). Then 43.5% come to the website. It indicates unprompted, but it’s likely that this is probably driven there by one of the other channels as well.
And on this graph — here you have it — 21% of donors still want to receive direct mail and almost 8% love text messaging. Other studies have shown that multiple channels together work even better but I foresee that text messaging is going to continue to grow whereas email may have started to peak with direct mail coming back.
There is so much to unpack in this study: legacy gifts, donor advised funds, cryptocurrency — you name it. It’s all there.
Of course, this study saved the best for last — the recurring giving study done amongst Neon One users. Here are some key findings from the Neon One study with my additional comments:
- Recurring gifts represent 15.4% of the annual revenue for organizations analyzed. This is in line with what we’re seeing from Blackbaud’s donorCentrics Sustainer Benchmarking Summit.
- The mean gift size of organizations surveyed was consistently around $63. That is $756 a year! This is much higher than the $25 average gift, so very exciting.
- Recurring gifts are more likely to be initiated in January than in December, where end-of-year, one-time gifts are highest. This makes sense. I typically recommend organizations focus on monthly giving in the new year but save year-end for a focus on one-time gifts.
- Credit cards represent 84.9% of recurring gifts, followed by ACH transactions at 14.5%. This too is much higher than what I’ve seen in other studies, so very exciting, because this will help increase monthly donor retention by a lot.
- Larger nonprofits are less likely to have recurring gifts when compared to smaller nonprofits. Definitely some potential for all sizes and types of organizations.
As someone who loves data and especially data on small donors and recurring donors in particular, I am truly grateful to Neon One to create this comprehensive analysis of donors and giving in general. I especially loved the links to the many, many resources used as inputs for the overarching study.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.