How Does Your Fundraising Stack Up?

Editor's note: The Individual Donor Benchmark Project is a fascinating glimpse into the fundraising success of small nonprofits. We reached out to Heather Yandow of Third Space Studio to tell us a little more about the project and she graciously answered our questions. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out the survey and last year's results.

What is the Individual Donor Benchmark Report? 
 
The Individual Donor Benchmark Report (http://www.thirdspacestudio.com/idb2014/) looks at the fundraising data of small and mighty nonprofits—those with budgets under $2 million.  
 
There is no other benchmarking resource for smaller organizations with individual donor fundraising programs. The Report helps nonprofits understand where their fundraising is doing well, or where they might need to focus their attention for improvement.  
 
What are some of the most interesting findings in last year’s report? 
 
Last year we collected a lot of really interesting data. Here are some of my favorites:
 
  • The average small nonprofit raises 36 percent of its revenue from individual donors.
  • About 16 percent of individual donor revenue is generated online.
  • About half of individual donor revenue comes from donors giving less than $1,000.
  • On average, small organizations have 436 donors. The average gift size is $435.
Were there any surprising takeaways from last year’s report?
 
Absolutely! We found that having a fundraising plan is the single best predictor of fundraising success. If you have a plan, other investments in your fundraising program—more staff, higher paid staff, and more donor meetings—lead to bigger impact. If you don’t have a fundraising plan, those additional investments don’t matter—the data shows no relationship between investing more in individual donor fundraising and seeing greater results. For example, if you have a fundraising plan, every $1 more you pay your primary individual donor fundraiser, you are able to raise another $4.25.
 
What does the Individual Donor Benchmark Report have to say about technology?
 
The Benchmark Report focuses on the fundraising technology used by small and mighty nonprofits, particularly online fundraising platforms and databases. We found that the most popular online fundraising platforms were Network for Good, Razoo, NeonCRM, and Crowdrise. We also found that those organizations using an online fundraising platform raised more of their budget from individuals (39% compared to 31%) and saw greater growth year over year in individual donor giving (86% compared to 39%).
 
In addition to asking about the databases participants used, we also ask organizations how much they loved their database, how easy it was to get data out of it, and how long it took them to gather the data for the survey. After weighing all of the factors, our three database All Starts were Little Green Light, DonorPerfect, and NationBuilder. 
 
If a nonprofit wants to be part of this year’s survey (running now through April 8th) how can it participate? 
 
It’s easy to be part of the survey! Just visit http://www.thirdspacestudio.com/idbproject/ to learn more and start the survey.
 
As a thank you for being part of the survey, organizations will receive:
 
  • A report of your results as well as the complete survey results to share with your colleagues and board.
  • An invitation to a special webinar just for survey participants to dig into the results.
  • The official Individual Donor Benchmark Report and infographic.
  • A chance to win one of 50 coveted consultations with Ravela Insights—experts in donor data analytics, database strategy, and prospect identification.
  • A chance to win one of five Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training prize packs with a subscription to the Grassroots Fundraising Journal as well as a book from the Kim Klein Fundraising Series.