Much of what I am attempting to remedy at my own organization as well as those that I am assisting with their fundraising efforts is to reduce donor attrition. According to the 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Project report, every $100 gained in 2011 was offset by $100 in losses through gift attrition. The report also indicates that the smaller an organization is the more pronounced the results. Smaller organizations struggle with donor retention at a much higher rate than larger organizations.
Among the organizations that I have worked for or assisted over the years, donor attrition has always been overshadowed by a preference for new donor acquistion. Time and time again, I encounter organizations that completely ignore what I consider the most significant barrier to real fundraising success- the ultimate measure of fundraising effectiveness. I can look at one single measure, an organizations renewal rate, and accurately assess their fundraising competency.
I am not convinced that fundraising is all that difficult or that even the smallest, most inexperienced organization can’t raise some serious cash. What I am convinced of is that even these small organizations that have had some measure of success rarely can sustain the same support from the same donors. My dashboard is designed to shift organizations away from new donor acquistion in order to focus on renewing their existing donors.
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