You might think it’s a blunt, maybe even a harsh, question. It is.
Do you know if your fundraising is failing?
If your nonprofit organization is typical, I have some bad news for you. You’re fundraising effort is most likely sorely underperforming. That’s according to the newly released 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Project Report, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute. Here are some of the key findings:
• For every 100 donors gained in 2014, 103 were lost through attrition, a net loss in donors of three percent!
• For every $100 gained in 2014, $95 was lost through gift attrition. In other words, organizations are running hard to remain essentially in place.
• The median donor retention rate in 2014 was just 43 percent. There was no improvement over 2013’s rate despite all of the publicity and advice about the issue.
• The median dollar retention rate increased slightly from 46 percent to 47 percent in 2014. However, the fact that the retention rate is not well above 50 percent is pathetic. Sadly, that’s been the case for nearly the past decade.
Roger Craver, one of the Editors at The Agitator blog and author of Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life summed up the results perfectly with just one word: “depressing.”
Even if your charity is performing on par with the median nonprofit organization, make no mistake about it, it is failing. Unfortunately, many organizations do not even know whether or not they are performing well. They usually don’t look at or understand their numbers. Fortunately, the solution is simple. Here’s a story I told The Agitator:
I’ve been involved with the nonprofit sector for decades. Over the many years, the speakers at the front of the room have preached about the importance of donor retention. On occasion, I’ve even been the one doing the preaching. Sadly, the message never seems to sink in.
After one speaking engagement, someone came up to me and said, ‘Well, I guess everything you just said in there was just common sense.’ I responded, ‘Yes, it was. And, when it becomes common practice, I’ll stop talking about it.’”
The solution to the donor retention problem is common sense. But, you actually need to do what it takes. As a sector, we need to turn common sense into common practice: Understand your numbers. Set goals. Build stronger relationships.
To improve your fundraising efforts, you can start by checking out the following posts, in no particular order:
- Donor Retention: Time for a Change
- Easy Ways to Cultivate Your Donors and Raise More Money
- Building Donor Loyalty: What’s New?
- The Greatest Idea for Retaining and Upgrading Donors
- 6 Ways to Raise More Money without New Donors!
- Get More Repeat Gifts: The Rule of 7 Thank Yous
- Avoid Making Faulty Assumptions about Donor Loyalty
Also, pick up the following books:
Have you tried to address your organization’s donor retention challenge? If so, let me know what has or hasn’t worked. We can all learn from each other.
That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?