The Downturn and US Fundraising in 2008
27 April 2009 at 3:11 pm
2008 was a disappointing year in direct marketing for many US Not for Profits, according to the latest study from Blackbaund’s Target Analytics survey.
Over 60% of the organizations in the Target Analytics Index of National Fundraising Performance saw declines in both donors and revenue from calendar year 2007 to 2008. These declines were evident across almost all industry sectors; only animal welfare and international relief organizations saw revenue and donor growth.
Organizations also experienced declines in most other key measures of fundraising health such as retention rates, reactivation rates, and new donor acquisition. Revenue per donor rose, as it has for most of the past three years.
Revenue trends generally follow the performance of the U.S. economy. Accordingly, index revenue declines deepened throughout 2008 as economic conditions grew weaker, with the largest revenue declines coming in the fourth quarter of the year.
The index has been experiencing falling donor numbers for more than three years, ever since the U.S. Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. So it is likely that there would have been donor declines in 2008 as a continuation of this longer-term trend, regardless of the state of the economy. But the increased magnitudes of the declines in 2008 suggest that the current recession may have accelerated the rate of decrease.
The survey says this is particularly the case with new donor acquisition; rates of new donor acquisition were significantly lower in 2008 than they were in 2006 and 2007.