Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Nov 27, 2023

Measuring Speedy Gratitude

On the first day of November, I sent out 49 small “white mail” gifts.

After 3-weeks, here is what I received:

  1. Two of the gifts were returned because the address was undeliverable.
  2. Of the 47 gifts that (I think) were delivered, I have received 14 acknowledgments (30% acknowledgment rate).

Now, there could be a lot of reasons why 70% of my received gifts were not (yet) acknowledged:

  1. Maybe some of my gifts got lost in the mail.
  2. Maybe some of my gifts are still being processed.
  3. Some of my receipts might be using nonprofit (slow) postage and haven’t arrived yet.
  4. Maybe some acknowledgments were batched and still waiting to be sent.
  5. Maybe my gifts ($10) were too small to acknowledge.

Whatever the reason, we have to do better at acknowledging gifts.

In the 25 years I have been in this business, one of the consistent recommendations is making it a priority to acknowledge gifts. All gifts – even $10 ones – should receive a receipt sent first class. And yes, even online gifts should get a mailed receipt.

Every donor – whether they say so or not – wants to have their gift acknowledged. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.

Early Returns

We are knee-deep in analyzing last fall’s results. While there is of course some variation in results by organization, the general narrative is that last fall wasn’t great . . . but it wasn’t awful either. It was just OK. What we are seeing is that overall revenue was...

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How Fundraising Will Evolve

In honor of International Data Week, I’m sharing how the future of fundraising will evolve. Many people are concerned about fundraising (I’m not btw). For nearly two decades, the “experts” have been predicting the death of direct mail fundraising. Eventually, the...

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Forecasting the Demise of the Boomer Donor

For the past decade or so, when fundraising analysts gather together around the bar at a conference, the discussion invariably leads to a debate on how the generosity of the Boomer generation comes to an end (after we put away our slide rules and stop talking about...

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