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According to the recent 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, overall donations to nonprofits in the US increased 3% in 2016 over 2015, while the retention rate of donors — that is, the percentage of donors who gave in 2015 and again in 2016 to the same organization — decreased slightly to 45%. This retention rate, similar to customer retention rates measured in other businesses like NetFlix and Verizon, continues its long-term slide and shows just how hard it is for nonprofits to keep donations flowing from their supporters.

The study, in its 10th year of release, encompasses 10,829 nonprofit organizations across the US with 8.9 million donors and more than $9.1 billion dollars in contributions. It is the world’s largest database of actual nonprofit donation history.

Erik Daubert, Chair of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, said, “While the overall growth in giving of 3% is positive, the millions of donors who do not repeat their giving is very concerning. The fact that nonprofit organizations are losing 55% of their donors from one year to another is not a sustainable strategy.”

The report also highlights the struggles of small nonprofits.  For example, nonprofits with less than $100,000 in contribution income declined 10.4% from 2015 to 2016.  Meanwhile nonprofits with more than $500,000 in contributions increased 8.6% in the same time.

Another highlight of the report was the average gift amount, which was $419 in 2016 vs. $400 in 2015, or a 4.75% increase.

Click here for more information on the 2017 study.


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