Downward arrow.In this recent NonProfit Times article, Paul Clolery documents what many of us know to be true: donors are leaving. They’re literally running out the door. And it’s alarming. He tosses out facts like:

  • The number of donors plunged during the first six months of 2019 when compared to the same period of 2018.
  • New donors declined 9.5 percent and new retained donors dropped 8.8 percent during the comparative periods.
  • Overall, the number of donors declined 5.8 percent with a corresponding drop in revenue of 7.3 percent.
  • At mid-year, revenue was only 41.06 percent of the total raised during all of 2018 from only 48.97 percent of donors, according to the data.
  • Revenue from gifts of $1,000 or more are down 8.2 percent. And the data show mid-range gifts from $250 to $999 have fallen 3.5 percent.
  • By this time in 2018, major gifts made up 37.89 percent of the category’s eventual annual total. This year it’s just 34.78 percent of the 2018 total.
  • The data show that major donors made up 33.6 percent of all donors during the first six months, compared to 34.78 percent in the same period of 2018. That’s also down from 2017, when they comprised 35.4 percent of those giving to nonprofits – but better than the 32.42 percent found during 2016.

This is serious stuff. And these data come from 4,456 nonprofits where fundraisers brought in a collective $4.76 billion in 2018. So the info is credible.
Why is this happening? Well, some folks blame it on the change in the tax law. Others point a finger at the economy and the uncertainty surrounding it.
What’s interesting to Jeff and me is that hardly anyone looks inside the organization’s practice to find the true culprit – the lack of timely feedback to the donor, that their giving actually made a difference on the planet.
You can watch your donors leaving or giving less forever. And you can document the horrible trends and numbers and wring your hands. You can even point to all the similar experiences of non-profits around the country and how “we’re all in the same boat.”
OR you can get busy and do the hard work of telling the donor she made a difference through her gift. And then telling her again. And again. And again.
This is what will make a difference in your numbers. Nothing else will. And we know it works because we have results with our clients. Results like:

  • 14%+ growth every year for three years in major giving caseloads
  • $1.6 million increase in giving from one caseload
  • Increases in caseload values from 22% to 59% in several years

You can see the details of 16 examples we share here. Take a look. And you’ll know it works.
Here’s the point. Donors want to make a difference through their giving. That, and nothing else, is the driver to giving AND to donors staying with you. (Tweet it!) Focus on how to do that better with your caseload donors. If you do that successfully, you won’t be experiencing the “donors are leaving or giving less” dynamic.