US Donors and Revenue Down in 2008 - Study
28 July 2008 at 3:43 pm
US Not for Profit organisations generally underperformed in the first quarter of 2008 (January through March) with both donors and revenue declining according to a new report by Blackbaud.
Donor numbers in the Index of National Fundraising Performance fell -4.0% from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008.
The study says donors have been declining consistently for the past two and a half years; the index has not experienced positive donor growth since the U.S. Gulf Coast hurricanes in the fall of 2005.
About a third (39%) of the organisations in the index had positive growth in the first quarter of 2008 over the same period one-year before.
In the first quarter of 2008, for the first time in two and a half years, overall revenue declined as well. Revenue fell -1.8% from Q1 2007 to Q1 2008.
Revenue per donor has been steadily increasing for the past two years. This continued into the first quarter of 2008 as well. Revenue per donor grew 2.1% from 2007 to 2008, on top of 3.6% growth over the same period one year before.
The study says until now, increases in revenue per donor compensated for donor declines, allowing overall revenue to continue to grow. In the most recent quarter, however, continued revenue per donor growth could not make up for the donor decreases and prevent overall revenue from declining.
For most organisations, overall donor declines have been due primarily to declines in new donor acquisition. New donors declined -2.3% from 2007 to 2008, on top of a -5.3% decline over the same period one year before. Just under half (47%) of the organisations in the index did, however, have positive new donor growth in the first quarter of 2008; this is an encouraging change from previous quarters when new donor declines were more widespread.
The study concedes that the numbers only represent returns over the first three months of the calendar year and these three months are often the slowest period of giving during a given year for many organisations.
Fundraisers may shift annual direct marketing campaigns from one quarter to another. In addition, smaller donor counts and revenue totals tend to exaggerate the magnitude of percentage increases and decreases in donors and revenue. For these reasons, the results may not be fully representative of eventual year-end results.
The Blackbaud Index of National Fundraising Performance compares trends in key fundraising indicators for more than 70 large US organisations every quarter.
To read the report summary go to: http://www.blackbaud.com/files/resources/TargetIndexResultsSummaryQ12008.pdf