Recently Independent Sector published an article titled “2018 Giving is Dropping. Now What?” that cited analysis from The Fundraising Effectiveness Project. In the article they note that their research shows a 2% decline in the amount given to charities and close to a 7% drop in the number of donors. This analysis was derived from analyzing the second quarter fundraising returns for over 13,000 organizations.
The same report also noted a 6% decline in donor retention year to date. New donors are down 9% and new retained donors are down 18%. Recaptured donors are down 5% and repeat retained donors are down 2.1%.
The report itself is derived from software providers such as Blackbaud, Donor Perfect, and Bloomerang. The data reporting is a sampling from organizations that have raised $5,000 or more, with 25 or more donors in each of the last 6 years.
What this tells me is that we are only looking at one part of the picture. When you only look at the numbers you aren’t asking organizations critical questions such as:
When I see the results that show such declines not only in new donors but also in donor retention I have to ask that question. At the end of 2017, and early in 2018, the message was sent far and wide that the tax incentive to give was no longer available to most donors and therefore giving would decline.
How many of us reduced efforts and or staff that support donor engagement? How many of us instead of doubling down on our efforts, pulled back? How many of us directly or indirectly told our donors that their gifts were no longer tax deductible?
The bottom line is whether or not we did things any differently in 2018 assuming the worst, instead of hoping for the best. I can’t answer these questions, and again I can only draw my own conclusions that may be fair or unfair. I’ll admit to that.
What I see here in Idaho is the opposite. I see every fundraising event that I’ve been to this year doing better than ever before. Our own annual Idaho Gives raised a record $1.55 million for Idaho’s nonprofit community.
I want to encourage you: running a simple google search about why donors give will clearly illustrate that most donors give not for the tax incentive, but because they care about the cause and because you asked.
For every article that says giving is, or will be, on the decline there’s at least one article that contradicts that theory. There are gender, geographical, and generational differences in giving behavior. Study them, and use them to your advantage.
We are very passionate about helping our nonprofit sector in Idaho and we wanted to make sure we did what we could to help you prepare for your year-end donor engagement. We are hosting a series of three FREE webinars to help you.
These webinars are free to members and nonmembers alike, because we care about your success. We have lined up some great topics and experts and hope you will join us for this series. Whether you can be there for one, two, or all three, we think the content is strong and will support your year end fund development efforts.
We truly are here to serve you and hope that these free webinars will be helpful to you not only for the end of the year but in all your fund development efforts.
Going into the end of the year, now is the time to ramp up your donor engagement and appreciation efforts. Don’t take your foot off the gas, because you will slow down.
Amy Little, CEO of the Idaho Nonprofit Center
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