I came across this slide show today from Steve MacLaughlin, Director of the Idea Lab at Blackbaud.
As I read through these statistics on charitable giving, I am reminded of the wealth of information on donors that is sitting quietly in databases, on spreadsheets housed on the computers of various staffers, or sometimes only captured in unorganized hard copy files in some rarely visited storage room in a nonprofit's basement or attic. Imagine what we might learn about the giving habits, communication preferences, and other behavior of our own donors if we took the time to analyze this information. On the contrary, failing to assess the attitudes and behaviors of donors puts an organization at a great disadvantage against their higher performing counterparts who invest time and resources into building fundraising strategies to retain the donors they have - and attract the donors they want in the future.
If your nonprofit strives to be a high-performing, high-achieving organization in today's fundraising environment, start by making sure you are capturing important donor information in a quality database that allows for easy analysis and reporting. Then take time to study your data, looking for patterns in the timing, methods and levels of giving. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from the data you have in your possession.