The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP)

Thanks to the Association of Fundraising Professionals and The Urban Institute for their work on this important project. If this report doesn’t make the case for a STRONG donor cultivation and major gift program, I don’t know what does!

“For every $4.5 the nonprofit organizations gained in upgraded, new, and recovered gifts, a little more than $6 was lost in downgraded and lapsed gifts. For every 5.4 new donors recruited, slightly more than 6 donors were lost through attrition.”

We know it is more cost effective and easier to keep and upgrade the donors we have than prospect for new donors, right? So what’s missing in this puzzle? And I get in the new economy, some of these ideas may seem counter-intuitive. But the statistics from the FEP clearly state, the way we’ve been going can’t continue – if we are going to raise more money to support community needs.

  • Do you have enough resources – financial or human – to increase attention to current donors?
  • Think about how to invest the fundraising budget to maximize time with current donors.
  • Are you communicating effectively with donors – more communication does not mean good information.
  • Does donor cultivation precede solicitation? At all levels of the fundraising pyramid?
  • Focusing one-on-one cultivation and solicitation at the top of the pyramid leaves too many donors out of the loop. Add staff to cultivate donors throughout the pyramid.
  • Measure everything – including tracking the effectiveness of your fundraising program by category, annual giving, major giving etc.

The FEP report says for an organization to double annual giving in five years requires an average annual rate growth of almost 15%. Just to keep up with GDP, Giving USA says organizations need a growth rate of 7%-8%. This requires a lot of concentrated, focused work.

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