2021 brings us all hope, optimism, and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our staff, clients and the communities we serve.
2020 was certainly a year like no other. While we will not be able to fully move on from 2020 until COVID-19 is behind us, I am thankful that there are signs we will soon put the worst behind us. Vaccinations are beginning to be distributed across our country, our employees remain safe and healthy, and we all have a renewed energy and sense of possibilities as 2021 begins.
Recent performance trends confirm that nonprofits are acquiring fewer donors than ever before and retaining less of the donors they acquire. Lackluster response rates in the low single digits continue to plague nonprofits' acquisition programs, while abysmal new donor retention rates remain in the mid-twenties. Nonprofits need new donors far more than new donors need nonprofits.
Inspired by our industry’s fundraising benchmark reports, Merkle RMG has published our first Nonprofit Donation Processing Benchmark Report. This report is a quarterly in-depth review of donation processing data to give nonprofits a view into the transactional side of fundraising.
Yes, “why are nonprofits losing half of their donors?” is an important question that fundraisers need to reflect upon. But it’s not the only question they should be asking themselves, and certainly not the most important.
What are we doing about it? is the million-dollar question, and the answer is sadly, not much.
Yesterday, an article I wrote discussing the value of donor feedback was published on The Grow Report. I know for months I’ve been talking about the value of donor feedback, but this article sums it up nicely.
The reason Merkle RMG is critical is because we are the eyes and ears for a nonprofit. Think about it — we are the first to engage with a donor. Whether it is processing a donation, flagging a piece of comment mail, responding to an email, or answering a phone call — we are first to react to a donor’s behavior.
We polled a number of our nonprofit clients earlier this month to take their temperature on the year-end giving situation. While these results are by no means statistically significant, anecdotally they support what we all believe (and want) to be true.