The index compares trends in key fundraising indicators from 77 organizations, including over 36 million donors and more than 68 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
Index revenue declined a median 7.7% from Q2 2008 year-to-date to Q2 2009 year-to-date. This continues declines that were reported at the end of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009. Revenue declines were widespread across the index with only 18% of the organizations in the index had positive revenue growth over the period.
Donor numbers in the index fell a median 3.5% from Q2 2008 YTD to Q2 2009 YTD. 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. 34% of the organizations in the index had positive donor growth from Q2 2008 YTD to Q2 2009 YTD.
Donor declines are, again, due primarily to declines in new donor numbers, which fell 7.6% from the first half of 2008 to the first half of 2009. Fewer than 32% of the organizations in the index had positive new donor growth over the period. For most organizations, overall donor declines continue to be caused mainly by declines in new donor acquisition.
Over the past five years, from the twelve months ending Q2 2004 to the twelve months ending Q2 2009, new donor numbers have fallen a cumulative median 9.7%. This is an effective annual rate of decline of 1.9% per year. New donor declines have been particularly steep since the start of the recession. New donor numbers fell a cumulative median 10.9% from the twelve months ending Q4 2007, when the recession began, to the twelve months ending Q2 2009.
Trends Across Different Organizations
The societal benefit sector had flat donor growth this quarter while all other sectors saw declines. As with revenue, the religion and animal welfare sectors had the smallest donor declines. The relief sector had the largest revenue and donor declines in the index in the first half of 2009. This may be in part a rebound from strong disaster giving in 2008.
New donor acquisition was down from the first half of 2008 to the first half of 2009 for almost all sectors in the index. This was the primary cause of overall donor declines in the index. Religious organizations were the only ones to see any positive growth in new donor acquisition in the first half of 2009. Environmental and relief organizations had the largest new donor declines over this period.