I spend a lot of time looking at metrics and benchmarks from across the nonprofit sector. As often as possible I try to talk about positive trends that are happening. That’s not the case this time.
Here are five statistics from across the nonprofit sector that trouble me and should really trouble you.
1. First Year Donor Retention is 29.3%
The Target Analytics donorCentrics Index of National Fundraising Performance for 2009 reported this trend. That means 7 out of 10 donors don’t give again the following year. If you ran a business and lost 70% of your customers every year, then you probably wouldn’t be open for long.
2. Fundraising Email Response Rate is 0.13%
The 2010 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study reports this gem. That means more than 99% of fundraising emails don’t result in a donation. This is despite countless books, webinars, presentations, and many years of email being used by nonprofits.
3. 67% of donors plan to eliminate or reduce support to nonprofits that over‐solicit
The 2010 Cygnus Donor Survey notes this and other trends. That means that today’s donor is not yesterday’s donor. They want more measurable results, better management practices, and are giving to less organizations.
4. Only 26% of Nonprofits Rated their Websites Very Effective
This is from the 2010 State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey. That means 74% of nonprofit websites aren’t considered effective despite technology no longer being the limiting factor. We are beyond talking about just having a strategy — now is the time for getting real results.
5. Recurring Gift Donors only accounted for 10% of all US Donors
The Target Analytics 2009 donorCentrics U.S. Recurring Giving Benchmarking Analysis says so. That means organizations are missing out on more stable and predictable fundraising revenue. Not to mention that recurring donor populations have grown 22% from 2005 to 2009, compared to a decline of 13% in single-gift donors.
No sugar coating these trends. No buzzword compliant magic wand fixes it all. There are some really hard questions the nonprofit sector needs to ask itself. The same is true for anyone that serves these organizations. The status quo is a dead end street.