4 Things You Should Know About 2017 Giving

May 18, 2018 - by Jordanna Sussman

There were major shifts in charitable giving in 2017 — it truly was a year like no other! Carol Rhine, Principal Fundraising Analyst at Target Analytics, recently dove deep into the latest changes in fundraising at the DMAW’s Wake Up & Learn breakfast.

Below are our four key takeaways to help take your fundraising efforts to the next level:

1. Metrics are on the up and up!
The numbers don’t lie — giving was at an all-time high in 2017:
- 7.5% increase in revenue from 2016
- 1.3% increase in donors (the first increase since 2015)
- 5.8% increase in new donors (the biggest increase in 11 years!)

2. Sustainers are key.
While the 2016 election caused a spike in giving in the early part of 2017, the trend continued throughout the year. Why? One word: sustainers! 6.5% of all donors in 2017 were monthly donors. And these monthly donors are not making small gifts — the average sustainer is donating $320 a year (roughly $26.60 each month)! This reliable stream of revenue was one of the main drivers behind the overall increase in revenue in 2017.

Organizations are promoting monthly giving everywhere — online, in the mail, on the phone … the list goes on! It’s clear the perception of monthly giving has changed, and donors are now seeing it more as the way to give.

3. Millennials are charitable.
Carol honed her analysis on 2017’s new donors — who were they? Where did they come from? They came from across generations, but the biggest growth area was with millennials. Millennials are becoming charitable earlier than the generations before them — good news since there are more of them than boomers! Their preferred way to donate is through face to face canvassing, online/email, and SMS. It’s important to keep communicating with them in the channel in which you acquired them.

Bonus! Millennials prefer monthly giving. So many of the things they do in life are on a monthly “set it and forget” schedule. Whether it’s bill paying, online streaming services or monthly subscription services, they are accustomed to monthly deductions.

4. Mail is very much alive.
We say this year over year but it’s worth reiterating: mail is not dead. Keep mailing your donors! While alternative giving channels are gaining traction, mail brings in the lion's share of most organizations’ direct response revenue. Just because donors give via other channels such as email, online and mobile, it is still critical to send mail as that additional touch point. Organizations who have a variety of fundraising sources do best!


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