Use Donor Data to Inform Strategy


The Bad News

According to the latest report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), year-over year growth in contributed support fell nearly 2% during the final quarter of 2022.

The phrase “donors down, dollars up,” oft repeated by fundraisers over the last ten years, continued to be the trend through 2022. “Any gains made in the beginning of 2022 were wiped away by lackluster giving at the year’s end,” says Woodrow Rosenbaum, Chief Data Officer for GivingTuesday Data Commons, which partnered with FEP on the report.

The decline in dollars given occurred in major gift categories where larger donors pulled back, accounting for “almost all” revenue losses in the last three months of 2022. 

While there were fewer donors over all at the end of 2022, the decline was sharpest with the donors who gave $500 or less. 15% fewer people gave $100 or less than at the end of 2021. Likewise, the number of people who gave $101 to $500 in the last three months of 2022 declined more than 8% from 2021.

The Good News

Conversely, GivingTuesday was a success in attracting small donors. In 2022, people contributed $3.1 billion to nonprofits on the global day of giving — 15% more than they gave the year before, and much of it came in small sums. Donor participation increased, too, rising 6% year-over-year.

The report also showed that organizations made progress in attracting new gifts from donors who had previously given but whose support had lapsed for at least a year. These so-called recaptured donors grew close to 3% during the last three months of 2022.


An Opportunity

As we prepare our year-end appeals for this year be sure to include an abundance of activities that focus on communication. The key word is MORE: more often, more storytelling, more impact sharing, more mission, more about your cause. And start right now. 

Consider expanding your digital presence, particularly your use of email. Think first about your list:
•    Is it “cleaned up?” 
•    Can it be segmented to reach the donors who care most about your cause(s)?

This will help you have as close to a one-on-one conversation as possible.

You have six more months to build a plan that could turn the Bad News of the final quarter of 2022 into Good News by the end of this year. You can do this if you focus on connecting with small new donors and re-engaging with those who have given before. When you use your donor data to inform strategy, you can target your efforts for greatest effectiveness.


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Posted by Robyn Furness-Fallin
Robyn Furness-Fallin

Written by Robyn Furness-Fallin

Robyn Furness-Fallin, CFRE, offers financial development and volunteer leadership consulting for nonprofits and higher ed. As a Senior Consultant with DBD Group, Robyn is a shrewd strategist who helps bring clarity and focus to the campaigns she supports.

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