New Study Explores the Undeveloped Value of New Donors

April 11, 2018 Mike Geiger

The donor marketplace is changing in dramatic ways.  Part one of the Blackbaud Institute’s Vital Signs report showed a sector that has both rebounded from and struggled with the immense technological, economic, and demographic disruption that has shaped the world since the Great Recession. The report indicated that the number of donor households making gifts between 2010 and 2015 dropped, the incidence of donor households adding new organizations to their portfolios declined, and overall donor retention did not improve. Overall, it highlighted how donors are so much more valuable to nonprofit organizations than the organizations are to donors. For fundraisers, this means we have strategic problems.

Now, in Vital Signs Part 2: The Undeveloped Value of New Donors, these trends are revisited to provide deeper insight into the ways fundraisers can be more successful in this evolving donor landscape. It should come as no surprise to any fundraiser that donor retention is key in all of this, but this newest report doesn’t just give us new figures and data, it also provides ideas, steps and perspective on how to address and increase our retention figures. Being able to understand the changing market forces that affect our ability to have an impact is key, and I am grateful to see research that allows our members to better understand—and more importantly, respond—to the trends shaping our sector.

At the Association of Fundraising Professionals, we are focused on ensuring our members have the resources to move the philanthropic needle and help donors change the world. This latest Blackbaud Institute report is one such important resource, helping you understand the current giving landscape and providing fundraising strategy and tactics that will work today instead of what worked yesterday.


Download Vital Signs Part 2 now for key insights including:

  • New donors disproportionately come from the pool of supporters who are already donating to other organizations
  • Giving is not a ‘fixed pie’ — households that make new gifts are willing to expand their philanthropy to accommodate new organizations
  • Increased civic engagement in 2017 showed a potential reversal of the declining number of new donor households trend

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