Spring is here - and so are the benchmark reports

Believe it or not, one of the first signs of Spring is all of the benchmark reports popping up like daisies. It's around this time of year we start to see a flurry of studies compiling nonprofit results from the prior calendar year. These numbers tell us the direction of nonprofit fundraising, areas on the incline (and decline) and what's on the horizon.

Most recently, Target Analytics, a subset of Blackbaud, released their 2013 Q4 donorCentrics Index of Direct Marketing Fundraising. This study compiles data from 76 nonprofit organizations representing 77 million gifts and $2.4 billion in revenue. Overall, it's a great comprehensive study of year-over-year changes if you want to see how your organization stacks up to overall and sector benchmarks. 

And you can download the full report right here. 

But in the meantime, here are a few key findings from this year's study:
> Number of donors dropped another 2% from 2012 
This downward trend has been going on for several years now, and since 2008, the number of donors has dropped 9.4%. In fact, there hasn't been a positive year-over-year change since 2005!
> New donors acquired declined 3.2%
Contributing to the first point, the number of new donors acquired by organizations decreased again, and only about one-third of organizations saw a positive change. Over the past 5 years, new donor numbers have declined a hefty 16.4%.

> Overall revenue increased 2.2%
A slight increase but an increase nonetheless. Why? Because even though the number of donors dropped, the revenue per donor (and new donor) increased, leading to an uptick in overall revenue. And, a full 82% of organizations saw a positive change in their revenue.

> Retention rates stayed relatively steady
The overall retention rate went up a hair - 0.4% to be exact - but first year and multi-year retention both declined slightly. But with the overall retention rate still at 50%, the small increase doesn't mean much when nonprofits are still losing half of their donor base each year.
....So, now what? What does all of this data mean and what do you do with it?

Start by comparing your organization's numbers with the benchmarks - this will give you an idea of where you're excelling (or falling short) compared to the national index and your sector's index. If you're struggling in certain areas, you can implement strategies and solutions targeted at lifting those numbers and improving your overall fundraising program.

To view the 2013 Q4 donorCentrics™ Index of Direct Marketing Fundraising, visit Blackbaud.com.

As always, feel free to contact us if you need help tackling the data or want to talk about your numbers - we're here to help.

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