A high 45% of non-profit executives have identified that their organisation’s donor base has stagnated or is declining, according to a new global study of fundraising performance. Liz Henderson outlines the key findings.

Decreasing bar chartDonor retention has been identified as a concern for close to half of nonprofits by a survey of 326 fundraising executives from the Asia-Pacific (34%), the United States (31%), Europe (20%), and Canada (15%).

The study was undertaken by the membership and fundraising software company, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), in mid to late 2014. It explored the challenges, goals and results of not-for-profit organisations with annual budgets ranging from less than $US 1 million to more than $100 million, most of which were working in the advocacy and social services space (58%).

A high 45% of respondents revealed their donor base was stagnant or declining (for 5% that turnover was more than 90%) but improving donor retention was not classed as an important objective. A high 30% did not know their overall retention rate. On the positive side, more than half (51%) had a greater than 50% retention rate.

Among othertop challenges that fundraisers identified, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said their organisation couldn’t adequately measure donor engagement, although 47% reported engagement of donors with their organisation had risen.

A high 40% reported offering no mobile options to donors while 16% didn’t know what percentage of contributions were made online or through a mobile device.

At the same time nearly a third (29%) indicated generating up to half their donations online on websites and mobile devices compared with half who only received 10% online – suggesting a missed opportunity for many organisations to leverage online donations by starting to offer this option or making it easier to use.

Facebook, followed by Twitter, were reported to be the most effective social media tools for reaching fundraising goals.

Three-quarters of all survey participants also disclosed that donor data and their websites were not integrated, with 78% saying they use separate donor management systems and website content management systems (CMS). These data silos mean that dynamic and personalised content is more time-consuming and difficult to produce.

Meanwhile, the top goals were increasing donations, recruiting new donors and enhancing donor engagement, and the top priorities were accessing better donor intelligence and leveraging online/mobile fundraising opportunities.

Liz Henderson is editor of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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