Disclosure: Bloomerang is one of several software providers that helped the Fundraising Effectiveness Project collect the data analyzed in the report we discuss in this post. 

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) recently released its Second Quarter Fundraising Report, which is full of insights and giving trends that can help you and your team with your donor acquisition and retention efforts. You can download the report by visiting FEP’s website.

In this post, you’ll learn more about two key insights from the report. You’ll also find our recommendations for how you can use your nonprofit organization’s data to fundraise more effectively.

Key insight #1: There was an increase in the number of dollars raised.

Insight

Let’s start with the good news: The number of dollars raised increased by 6.2%! 

Here’s an interesting look at which donors contributed to that increase and which showed the smallest decline in donations:

  • This increase was largely due to major donors. There was a much larger decline comparatively when looking at donors who gave less than $500.
  • Midsize donors showed the smallest decline in donations.

Recommendations

Given this information, we recommend taking these steps:

1. Define: Sit down with your team and define your criteria for small, midsize, and major donors. These segments will be unique to your organization as they will be based off of your yearly fundraising revenue and your organization’s average donation size.

2. Report: With those numbers in mind, use your donor database to pull reports that segment those groups of donors. You may also want to run reports based on the average donation size for each group.

3. Analyze: For each segment, find the number of donations they made, dollars raised, and other factors you deem relevant. Then look at the data you’ve collected to answer questions for each segment like:

  • Which donor segment raised the most funds? 
  • Is this a change compared to the previous year? 
  • Did the donation size increase or decrease compared to the previous year? By how much?
  • Did the number of donors increase or decrease compared to the previous year? By how much?
  • Were these increases or decreases tied to a certain fundraising activity or a change in programming or messaging? 
  • How many of the donors who gave this year were repeat donors?
  • Were their donations smaller, larger, or the same as last year?
  • How many donors lapsed year over year?

4. Adjust: Now that you know where your fundraising efforts are succeeding and where your opportunities for improvement are, adjust your fundraising plans accordingly.

  • For example, say that last year you sent donors an email wishing them a happy birthday. If the data shows that they increased their donation amount after receiving the email, you should do that again and also try new tactics that show you care about your donors beyond what they contribute to your organization.

5. Act: Once you know how you’d like to proceed, it’s time to implement your ideas and see if you can increase the number of dollars raised and number of donors by each segment. Make sure you show the relevant data to your team so they know why you’re implementing these strategies and tactics.

Bonus recommendation: You don’t have to wait an entire year to review your data. We recommend that you collect and analyze this information monthly or quarterly so you can adjust your fundraising efforts as the year goes on.

Key insight #2: There was a decrease in the number of donors who gave.

Insight

Even though the number of dollars raised increased, the number of donors who gave decreased by 7.0%.

Here’s a breakdown of that data:

  • The decrease in the number of donors came from the sub-$500 segment of donors.
  • Those donors account for almost 98% of donors.

But wait! There’s good news here too: Once they receive and review the late data, the FEP is anticipating they’ll see an increase in the number of major donors.

Recommendations

Just like above, we recommend taking these steps:

1. Define: Take the segments you created for small, midsize, and major donors. Remember: These groups will be unique to your organization as they will be based off of your yearly fundraising revenue and your organization’s average donation size.

2. Report: With those numbers in mind, run reports in your donor database that segment small, midsize, and major donors based on the factors you find most relevant.

3. Analyze: Look at the data you’ve collected and ask questions like:

  • Which donor segment has the most donors? The least?
  • How does this compare to the previous year? 
  • Were these increases or decreases tied to a certain fundraising activity or a change in programming or messaging? 
  • How many of the donors—by segment—gave this year and last year?
  • How many donors lapsed year over year?

4. Adjust: Look at what acquisition and retention efforts were the most successful last year and put more resources there. As far as the areas you have for improvement, try out new strategies and tactics that you think will increase the number of new donors in each segment and retain more donors this year.

5. Act: Empower your team by sharing the data you’ve collected and start implementing your proposed tactics and strategies.

The same bonus recommendation applies here: Set aside some time to review this data monthly or quarterly and make adjustments to your fundraising plans accordingly.

Key takeaways to keep in mind when fundraising

In addition to the recommendations above, we encourage you to:

  • Keep asking for donations. We know it can feel like all you do is ask for donations—but that’s what you should be doing. Your donors want to give. Make it easy for them by soliciting donations and directing them to where they can make their donations.
  • Focus on midsize donors. Take a look at that segment of your midsize donors. Because these donors tend to drop off at a reduced rate compared to the other groups of donors, you should spend time stewarding them and showing them why continuing to invest in your mission is important.
  • Re-engage recurring and repeat donors. Take a look at your recurring donors (like ones participating in a monthly giving program) and repeat donors (like ones who give once or twice per year). Their continued support shows that they’re invested in your cause so think about how you can get them even more excited about their involvement.
    • Tip: When you reach out to solicit a donation, tell a story about how their donation will be used. Then, if appropriate, ask them to increase their donation. For example, if a donor is giving $25 each month, you could ask them to donate $35 each month. Make sure you tell them a story about how you’ll use that extra $10 to help your nonprofit do even more good.

Bonus: How Bloomerang helps you find major donors and retain current donors

Here are a few Bloomerang features that can help you find major donors and retain current donors:

  • DonorSearch: Thanks to our integration with DonorSearch, you’ll find more donors who have the capacity to give and an affinity for your cause. Put more plainly: You’ll have the information you need to make an informed ask based on factors like a donor’s wealth indicators and past giving history.
  • First-time donor call reminders: Research shows that calling a first-time donor within 90 days of when they made their donation increases the odds that they’ll make another donation to your organization in the future. Worried about forgetting to do this important task? When you log into Bloomerang, you’ll see reminders to call those donors!
  • Segmentation options: You know that a tailored message is more effective than a generic one. When you use Bloomerang, you can segment your contacts into groups—like major donors or first-time donors—and tailor your messages to them.

We want to hear from you!

We’d love to hear from you about the giving trends you’re seeing and show you how Bloomerang can help you meet your fundraising goals. Schedule a live Demo now and a member of our team will get in touch with you ASAP.

Donor management software provides the tools to build relationships with major donors.

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