New Year, Better Insights

Each new year brings the excitement of new goals, greater impact, and the prospect of growing deeper in relationship with your listeners and donors.

It also can be an overwhelming time to quickly review the performance of year-end campaigns and jump back into the swing of things.

To get started on the right foot, answer these three questions to maximize the performance of your donor file.
1. Were enough donors acquired or reactivated to replace those who stopped giving?

To increase donation income, it’s wise to ensure that more donors are acquired or reactivated than those who lapsed. We recommend having a 2 to 1 ratio so that for every donor who lapses, two are either acquired or reactivated. Tracking the churn rate trend line allows you to see if you’re moving in the right direction.

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2. What percentage of new donors gave subsequent gifts after their initial donation?

While acquisition is extremely important, it’s equally important to cultivate relationships with donors that inspire them to continue giving. When new donors give at least two times within 12 months after their initial gift, they have a higher expected retention rate. A second gift conversion rate of 30% or more in the first 12 months is a healthy indicator that new donors are being cultivated well and are continuing to give.

Paying attention to recurring donor trends can also improve the health of your donor file. When given the opportunity, some recurring donors choose to give above and beyond their automated gift. Others choose to give monthly but have not automated their giving. Metrics around giving frequency and donation amount allow you to better identify ways to maximize giving.

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3. Which campaigns need to be optimized?

Historical trends over time allow us to see the hills and valleys of campaign performance. When we look at campaign performance over time, instead of only in isolation, we are able to identify opportunities to improve the campaigns and adjust the upcoming year’s schedule. Some campaigns may be a big win initially but do a poor job of attracting donors who will continue to give in future years. Looking at initial ROI and long-term donor retention shows the truest picture of campaign performance.

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Your data tells a story. Get the insights you need for an effective fundraising growth strategy at

+ More Insights on Donor Retention from Dunham+Company

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters.