The first half of 2015 is already coming to a close


The first half of 2015 is already coming to a close. And for many of our clients, so is their fiscal year. Here is my review of the state of fundraising so far.

  • Most clients are still living this narrative: their active donor counts continue to slip; however the donors staying active are giving more generously. So from a revenue perspective, most organizations are experiencing growing revenue. But this is the first year I have seen a few clients where the increased giving of their donors is not mitigating the file decline. We may be at a tipping point.
  • Encouragingly, last fall’s acquisition was the strongest it’s been for a number of years. Those organizations that are employing multi-channel efforts to support their direct mail acquisition showed the best performance.
  • Despite improved acquisition performance, the time it takes for a donor to break even continues to be a concern. This is primarily because fewer new donors hang around to make a second gift. In the good old days of direct response fundraising, about 40% of new donors gave a second gift. That percentage is now under 30%. It’s hard to grow donor files with such a metric.
  • Digital continues to be a growing source of revenue for nonprofits, but its growth rate is slowing. This makes sense, as it’s hard to keep up double-digit growth rates indefinitely. However, original forecasts that digital revenue would surpass traditional revenue in 2018 don’t seem likely. Direct mail is still the king of channels.
  • The trend of nonprofit organizations taking their fundraising in-house and not using agencies continues to pick up momentum. Though this trend seems to be growing, the jury is out on whether this trend is a good one.

That’s what I have been seeing. Sound familiar?

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