SAN DIEGO, May 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Classy, creator of world-class online fundraising software for nonprofits, today released its second annual report, The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019, featuring online and mobile fundraising trends via the company's proprietary platform data. Subtitled Trends in Return Donor Behavior, the 2019 report explores the patterns and behaviors exhibited by a critical cohort of donors—specifically those who make an initial one-time donation to an organization and then return to re-engage with that same organization.
In order to highlight patterns in supporter behavior up to two years after a first donation, the 2019 report leverages data from both 2017 and 2018, spanning nearly 1 million transactions, over 15,000 campaigns, and almost 4,000 recurring plans from organizations ranging in size.
"Our customers found the data in last year's report to be useful in driving their fundraising strategies forward, so we decided to make this an annual endeavor," said Dr. Ben Cipollini, Director of Data Science at Classy. "As an industry, we're often hyper-focused on donor churn—whether a first-time donor stays with an organization or not—and while we believe in the importance of that focus, we wanted to use this opportunity to bring attention to the supporters who do come back. By examining the behavioral patterns of donors who re-engage with an organization, we're hoping we can help nonprofits better nurture those supporters and keep them coming back time and again."
Led by Classy's data science team, The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019 unearths new insights about critical topics such as peer-to-peer fundraiser retention, the additive value of recurring donors, and opportunities for more targeted donor engagement.
Key findings from the report include:
- Peer-to-peer fundraiser retention is just as crucial as donor retention: Return peer-to-peer fundraisers typically raise over twice as much as one-time fundraisers—a new finding from this year's report. Furthermore, on average, fundraisers are almost three times more valuable than one-time donors. While nonprofits are continuously concerned about donor churn, these findings prove that acquiring and retaining fundraisers should be top of mind too. However, despite providing substantially more value, only 14% of fundraisers returned to create new peer-to-peer fundraising pages within the two-year timeframe analyzed by the report, further revealing the opportunity for nonprofits to better nurture these valuable supporters.
- Recurring donors are even more valuable than their monthly gifts: One-quarter (25%) of all one-time donors who returned to start a recurring plan went on to make another one-time gift as one of their future interactions. This unique behavior adds to the already-known value of recurring donors, who are over five times more valuable than one-time donors, according to the 2018 report. Ultimately, recurring donors are more than just a passive, automatic transaction—they actively give on top of their subscriptions, proving their investment in an organization's cause.
- Many—but not all—return donors wait until their one-year anniversary: The median number of days between a person's first and second donations is 349, revealing a pattern for repeat support around a donor's one-year anniversary—likely due to the reminder they may receive from a nonprofit at this year-mark. However, not all return donors wait that long for a second connection, with 19% of donors coming back within the first 90 days (roughly three months) from their initial donation, and 29% returning to donate again in the first 180 days (roughly six months). This may be a smaller subset, but it represents a large opportunity for nonprofits to reach back out much sooner than a full year later.
- One-time donors become recurring givers faster than they donate again: Typical one-time donors who become recurring activate their recurring plan 214 days after their first donation—4.5 months sooner than when a typical return donor gives again. In fact, the chance that a donor activates a recurring plan after the one-year anniversary of their first donation becomes slimmer as more time goes on. This points to an opportunity for nonprofits to encourage one-time donors to become recurring immediately or soon after their first donation.
"At Classy we're committed to helping nonprofits improve their fundraising efforts so they can accelerate their programs, missions, and impact," said Scot Chisholm, CEO and Co-Founder of Classy. "We know that our proprietary data can be a conduit for nonprofits to better understand today's modern fundraising landscape, so prioritizing this report on an annual basis is fundamental to our commitment to the sector. We hope that The State of Modern Philanthropy can serve as an invaluable tool to help nonprofits make data-driven decisions in support of their online fundraising strategies."
In addition to helpful data points, the report equips nonprofits with actionable insights, including a free nonprofit benchmarks worksheet covering key online fundraising metrics.
Classy is a social enterprise that creates world-class online fundraising software for nonprofits, modernizing the giving experience to accelerate social impact around the world. Based in San Diego, CA, Classy is trusted by organizations of all sizes, from the fastest-growing nonprofits like Team Rubicon and The Trevor Project, to some of the world's largest social organizations, such as The Salvation Army, Robin Hood Foundation, and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Classy also hosts the Collaborative conference and the Classy Awards to spotlight the innovative work nonprofits are implementing around the globe. For more information, visit www.classy.org or follow Classy on Twitter @Classy.