Target Analytics, a Blackbaud company, announced the latest Index of National Fundraising Performance for the first quarter of 2009. The index compares trends in key fundraising indicators from 79 organizations, including over 35 million donors and more than 66 million gifts totaling almost $2 billion in revenue. The index findings include giving data from direct mail, online, telemarketing, events, and other fundraising channels. You can get a complete summary of the latest index findings here.
Revenue and Donor Trends
All key metrics declined for the index as a whole for the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008. All of the industry sectors analyzed in the index had revenue declines over this period, and all but one sector had declines in donors as well. For the first time since the index began in 2002, overall revenue per donor declined; revenue per donor declines were experienced by two-thirds of the organizations in the index.
Index revenue declined a median 7.8% from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009. Revenue declines were widespread across the index with only 23% of the organizations in the index had positive revenue growth from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009. Donor numbers in the index fell a median 5.8% from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009. 30% of the organizations in the index had positive donor growth from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009. Donors have been declining consistently for the past three years; the index has not experienced positive year-to-year donor growth since the 2005 U.S. Gulf Coast hurricanes.
In evaluating Q1 2009 trends, it is important to remember that first-quarter rates of growth and decline are often greater than eventual year-end results because they are calculated on relatively small numbers of gifts and revenue amounts. This is further exaggerated because, for many organizations, the first quarter of the calendar year is the slowest fundraising period, with smaller proportions of gifts and revenue coming in during that quarter than any other quarter of the year.
over the past five years, including the record tsunami and hurricane giving periods, index revenue has grown at significantly lower than normal rates. From the twelve months ending Q1 2004 to the twelve months ending Q1 2009, index revenue grew a cumulative median 9.0%. This is an effective annual growth rate of 1.9% per year over these five years. Donors have remained essentially flat over the past five years. Donors declined a cumulative median 0.4% from the twelve months ending Q1 2004 to the twelve months ending Q1 2009. This is an effective annual rate of decline of -0.1%.
Target Analytics noted that declining donor populations across the index may be due to a mix of factors including economic changes, a changing generational profile in the United States, changing attitudes of donors about giving, and a change in focus by fundraisers toward higher-dollar donors. The index excludes iIndividual payments greater than $5,000, soft credits, and matching gift payments.
There are two new sectors in the index in 2009. These are the arts and culture sector and the religion sector. All sectors saw decreases in revenue from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009. The religion and animal welfare sectors had the smallest revenue declines and the arts and culture, health, and societal benefit sectors had the largest revenue declines. The international relief sector was the only sector to have an increase in donor numbers this quarter, in contrast to the rest of the index. As with revenue, the arts and culture, health, and societal benefit sectors had the largest donor declines.