Report: Online Sustainer Revenue Grows 20 Percent
This was a tough week for me. I got home from a trip and then got hit by this terrible cold. Boy, I haven’t been this sick in years! I’m finally starting to get over it, and it’s been going around like crazy.
What I realized as a sick “donor” was that, because my monthly gifts are coming out of my account automatically, I didn’t have to worry about my mail; but I was still supporting the organization I care about. And you, as the organization, benefits, no matter how hard the flu season hits!
It also gave me some time to catch up on some reading. Let’s look at some recent statistics from the most the recent “2017 Blackbaud Luminate Benchmark Report”:
“Expanding relationships with existing supporters was the name of the game this year, as we saw a 20.4 percent growth in sustainer revenue.”
“Viewing online revenue as one great big pie, we saw a larger slice of the pie—8.4 percent more—coming from sustainer gifts in 2017.”
The “Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report” includes aggregate data from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 from 707 mature Blackbaud Luminate Online customers—all with at least three years of consecutive usage data. Collectively over this one-year period, these organizations raised over $1.7 billion dollars, handled almost 25 million transactions and sent over 6.4 billion emails.
In other words, these are not necessarily small organizations, and the tracking has happened in the same way for the past few years, so it’s really great to see the trends.
It’s wonderful to see how much the focus has shifted to sustainers over the past few years, and it’s starting to pay off!
It’s also fascinating to see where sustainers have been more popular for year compared to those organizations just starting out.
The top dogs are the public broadcasting stations, with 46 percent of all online donations coming in from sustainers. Followed by 25 percent in religious organizations, 22.5 percent in animal welfare organizations, 19.9 percent in disaster and international aid and 16.7 percent in food banks. The report noted that arts and culture went down to 9.5 percent, human and social services down to 6.9 percent, hospitals down to 4 percent and health services and research down to 2 percent.
Environment and wildlife grew the most, with 42 percent, and I can tell you I’ve seen many of their email appeals. Lots of matches and huge jumps in monthly giving right after the new administration was elected.
What’s also interesting is the average sustainer donation for the organizations is now at $33.73 a month—that’s $404.76 a year! You see that the one-third rule is still holding strong (i.e. one third of the one-time gift is typically what’s a comfortable amount given monthly).
The report also shows that the average monthly gift is lowest for those organizations that have the highest sustainer penetration rate. The average monthly gift for public broadcasting stations is $13.23 (still $158.76 a year!).
The next chart is encouraging. You don’t have to be big to be successful in sustainer giving.
I’m so grateful for Blackbaud for publishing this report, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted with some exciting new statistics as they become available for organizations of all sizes. Sustainer giving is growing, and it’ll continue. I’m sure and nonprofits of all sizes benefit.
To download the full report, click here.
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.