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The latest Fundraising Effectiveness Project report insights

April 30, 2022
A group of nonprofit professionals sit around a table discussing recent fundraising reports.

Each year, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) produces a survey that provides insights for nonprofit organizations. Specifically, FEP emphasizes supporting nonprofit efforts to maximize their growth in giving through strategic fundraising efforts. Its Quarterly Fundraising Report offers useful metrics on donor participation, donor retention, and fundraising dollars.

According to FEP’s latest methodology, these statistics reflect nonprofits that collected between $5 thousand to $25 million in gifts. To help you make the most of this valuable data, let’s dive into the most recent Fundraising Effectiveness Project report

Fundraising dollars

The FEP report, which covers the first three quarters of 2022, notes that total nonprofit fundraising dollars increased by 4.7% from the previous year. To delve even deeper, here are some notable statistics:

  • One-time donors generated the largest proportion (58%) of donation dollars for nonprofits.
  • Of all gift sizes, Micro gifts (under $100) dropped the most (13.2%) from the previous year, followed by Small gifts ($101-$500) with a 7% decrease.
  • Supersize gifts (over $50 thousand), which contributed to 49% of total donation dollars, remained relatively stable compared to the other gift sizes, dropping only 0.4%.

These findings make it clear that major donors are critical to a nonprofit’s fundraising success. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to optimize your major donor program to secure and retain their significant contributions.

Donor retention

With one-time donors contributing the most fundraising dollars throughout the year, the question of donor retention arises. The FEP discovered that, while nonprofits experienced an overall increase in giving, donor retention continues to decline. Some specific findings to note are:

  • The retention rate for recaptured donors, or donors who had given in the past but not in the previous year, was the lowest at 2.7%.
  • On the other hand, nonprofits retained 41.5% of repeat donors, or donors who were both not new to the organization and gave the previous year.
  • While one-time donors are the largest segment of donors, they also experienced the largest decrease in retention (4.0%).

These numbers indicate that, for nonprofits to succeed in the long run, retaining donors is more important now than ever. To secure support beyond one-time gifts, your organization must have a strategy in place to build lasting relationships with donors. Having a comprehensive donor management solution is crucial to gather all the information you need to guide your supporter interactions and make them more meaningful.

Key takeaways for nonprofits

So, how can your nonprofit take these findings and leverage them to secure greater success moving forward? First, it’s evident that strengthening efforts to secure and steward major donors will generate vital revenue for your organization. Review your prospect research process and promote matching gifts to make major gifts even more impactful.

Another essential area of focus is retaining donors and keeping them involved year after year. To create an engaging experience for your supporters from the very start, be sure to:

  • Segment donors and personalize your communications
  • Optimize and promote your recurring gifts program
  • Report the impact of their contributions regularly
  • Steward them by showing appreciation frequently

Donors get involved with your nonprofit because they’re motivated to make a difference with their contributions. According to recent fundraising statistics, 67% of all donors also volunteer, and 56% regularly attend fundraising events. Encourage your supporters to drive more impact by providing engagement opportunities beyond gifts, such as volunteering, attending events, and becoming a fundraiser in your next peer-to-peer campaign.

By using every touchpoint to connect supporters with your nonprofit’s purpose and impact, you’ll build sustainable, productive relationships with them.

Secure long-term success with the FEP Report insights

Many nonprofits already understand that retaining donors is key to cost-effective fundraising, but it’s important to recognize that different stewardship strategies apply to different donors. 

By developing strategies that are data-driven and tailored to your donors’ interests, you’ll be able to send the right messages to the right people, via the right channels, at the right time. This ensures that donors have a positive experience with your nonprofit and remain enthusiastic about supporting your cause.

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