FYI Blog

Avalon Reporting: Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have been around for years. But the pandemic accelerated growth in this type of giving over the last two years. For example, Fidelity Charitable reported making donor-recommended grants totaling $9.1 BILLION in 2020. Are you ready to assess the impact of DAF giving on your fundraising program? This surge of giving from […]

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September 30, 2021

Avalon Demographic Reporting

There are so many data points nonprofits can track in their data. But not all metrics are created equal. You should focus your attention on information that helps further your understanding of your file. And that helps you act on that information. Here, we share what’s available in Avalon’s Demographic Analysis. Beyond standard demographics like […]

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September 23, 2021

Avalon’s Sustainer Dashboard

It can be difficult to pinpoint your monthly giving program’s current active universe, as well as actionable metrics for sustainer giving. To address those questions, Avalon Analytics has created a new dashboard.

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July 26, 2018

Merlin 2.0: Next-Level Reporting for a New Era of Data-Driven Nonprofits

Nonprofits deserve to understand the impact of their efforts. Your organization’s mission is simply too important to be left to best guesses. But for years, the quality of reporting available to nonprofits was lacking… significantly. In 2001 Avalon took matters into our own hands and built the best platform out there from the ground up. […]

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May 23, 2018

DMAW AdVents Feature: “Your Second-Gift Rate Is Talking”

Avalon’s Vice President & Director of Analytical Services, TJ Hillinger recently shared retention insights in the March issue of DMAW‘s Marketing AdVents. Her article – “Your Second-Gift Rate is Talking – Are You Listening?” – analyzes second-gift rate as an indicator of loyalty and future retention. Read on to learn how the speed of a donor’s second gift correlates […]

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April 5, 2018

Ask the Experts: Predictive Modeling Roundtable

Modeling and its efficacy have been under careful review recently, including by Avalon! To see what our nonprofit friends are seeing, I reached out to three industry experts to learn how they utilize predictive modeling to enhance their direct marketing programs. Here’s the roster of folks who provided input: Jeff Huberty, Senior Vice President, Target […]

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January 25, 2018

The Impact of the 2016 Election on Fundraising

At Avalon, we strive to stay on top of trends to better understand our clients’ programs and maximize fundraising opportunities. We all know that fundraising for certain nonprofits has been through the roof since the 2016 election (e.g. the ACLU). But it’s clear that the election had an impact across the board.

We recently took a deep dive into some data, and our goal was to better quantify this impact, specific to client type and their current fundraising trajectory. Our pre- and post-election analysis reveals some interesting trends I’d like to share.

We compared the window prior to the elections (July to October) with the period after (November to January) for all our clients, year over year, for the past four years. We removed clients whose data are an anomaly due to specific events unrelated to the elections.

While each organization has its own particular story to tell based on its own goals and decisions, we have outlined some commonalities across the board below.

Unsurprisingly, Avalon’s political advocacy clients saw a clear boost in the timeframes before and after the election in 2016 compared to previous years, with the post-election window being the strongest.

Chart 1 Pol Advocacy Clients NO HEADER

But interestingly, our non-political advocacy clients also saw a boost during the same period.

Chart 2 NON-Pol Advocacy Clients NO HEADER

And, remarkably, looking at two discrete years in our non-political advocacy clients’ fundraising, even those that were not experiencing growth got a slight bump post-election.

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March 27, 2017

Taking the Deep Data Dive

tjhillinger webYour data holds the key to taking your direct marketing fundraising program to the next level of success—but you’ve got to go below surface level to see what’s really going on.

Aggregate campaign-level metrics and benchmarks are great ways to measure performance. But for the most robust analysis of membership dynamics, file trends, and return on investment (ROI), Avalon recommends a really deep dive into your data—an Avalon Inquire™ master file analysis.

This thorough data file assessment can help you meet your fundraising goals by providing the most accurate picture of your file today and identifying significant trends that impact program performance.

Each Avalon Inquire™ analysis is customized to the individual needs of the client, but typically includes an overall health-of-the-file assessment, acquisition analysis, house file analysis, channel analysis, multi-channel giving behaviors (mail, phone, online), segmentation analysis, and upgrade analysis.

Beyond these foundational analyses, we’ve added the following views to help our clients learn as much as possible about their donors, members, and prospects:

  • Age overlay view: Compares the organization’s age trend to the national average and illustrates that fact that donors on most files skew older;
 NMAI MFA Slide 2 - Age Append
  • Break-even analysis: Reveals the projected point at which an acquisition join group will break even—when revenue covers the initial cost and subsequent cost to resolicit;

NMAI MFA Slide 3 - Break even analysis

  • Heatmap/geographic overview: Gives organizations a view of donors’ geographic distribution by zip code, illustrating pockets of donor concentration;

NMAI MFA Slide 4 - Heatmap

  • File stabilization view and trajectory: Projects the current trajectory of the file (growth, decline, or stability) and the number of new/reinstated joins needed to keep the file stable—key data to consider when making decisions about acquisition investment;

2016-06-02 Slide 1

  • Membership vs. giving level/discounts: For membership-based nonprofits, this view provides insight into the member value based on giving levels (compared to discounted giving levels); and
  • Enhanced major gift pipeline: These added views quantify the revenue low-dollar/membership donors provide to the major donor program, underscoring the importance of direct marketing as a pipeline to major giving and the impact of direct marketing beyond the program itself.

If you’re not sure where to go from here with your direct marketing program, an Avalon Inquire™ analysis can help you set a course for the future while giving you the statistical back-up to make your case to stakeholders and leadership. We’ve got your back.

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June 2, 2016

Digging Deeper: Avalon’s VitalStats™ All-Client Dashboard

At Avalon, we’re always looking for new ways to give context to our data. Using our own internal benchmarking tool—Avalon’s VitalStats™ All-Client Dashboard—is especially important, because our mix of clients tends to be different than the Target Index. 

All Client Dashboard Slide 4 - ver3So throughout the year, we compare Avalon client fundraising results to industry results as a whole. This gives us a more detailed benchmarking perspective for our clients and makes for a more relevant point of comparison than other public sources. It also helps us identify trends for Avalon clients across the board. For example, Avalon saw positive change in many key performance indicators by the end of 2015, and outperformed the Target index in terms of change in metrics like retention.

Here are some of the main takeaways from our most recent All-Client Dashboard analysis at the end of 2015:

  • We’re showing fewer new joins (either due to softening response rates in acquisition or strategic decisions to scale back on acquisition) but stronger retention.
  • Avalon clients are moving toward smaller, higher-value files. This is borne out by the condensed file sizes and corresponding increases in overall revenue and in revenue per donor.
  • As file counts decrease, donors are giving more gifts per person—a typical trend. Our focus on growing monthly giving programs contributed to this increase.
  • Multi-year and overall retention had declined slightly during 2013 and 2014, but both increased in 2015.
  • First-year retention is around the 30 percent mark—well within the industry range of 20-40 percent.
  • Average member gifts are rising across the board—especially among new joins and first-year donors.
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January 28, 2016