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donorCentrics™ Index Shows Continued Atypical Growth for Third Quarter

by | Jan 30, 2018 | Avalon Insights, Best Practices, Industry Resources, MultiChannel Fundraising

donorCentrics is out with its always-fascinating index of direct marketing giving for the first three quarters of 2017. The headline tells the story: Post-Election and Disaster Giving Drive Strong Growth in First Three Quarters of 2017. It covers gifts from direct mail, web, telemarketing, and other direct marketing channels to 70 organizations comprising more than 35 million donors, 85 million gifts, and more than $3 billion in revenue.

Some of our takeaways from the index:

    • Year one of the Trump-Pence administration brought unprecedented rage giving, significantly boosting revenue for about 20% of the organizations that participate in the donorCentrics index, mostly nonprofits in the environmental and societal sectors.
    • The arrival of three horrific hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—in August and September triggered substantial third-quarter growth among another 10% of index participants in the international relief sector.
    • Trump and the aftermath of the hurricanes drove significant growth in most key metrics across the index for the first three quarters of 2017, triggering a median 10.3% increase in overall revenue relative to the same period in 2016. Fully 80% of the nonprofits in the index experienced revenue increases during that time.
    • From the third quarter of 2016 through the third quarter of 2017, overall donor numbers increased a median 3.7%, with 64% of the organizations showing positive donor growth. Prior to this year, the index hadn’t shown positive year-to-year donor growth since the Gulf Coast hurricanes in the third quarter of 2005. This increase in overall donor numbers was driven primarily by increases in new donor acquisition, which grew by an impressive median 11.4% in the last year.
    • As with overall donor numbers, this was also the first time in 11 years that the index has seen new donor increases, including increases in retention and reinstatement rates.
    • For the most part, six of the seven industry sectors in the index showed general increases in most metrics, including overall donors, revenue, acquisition, and/or retention. The variables across sectors that affected specific performance in these key metrics included organizations’ strategy for implementing their missions, natural disasters, economics, and donor concerns about Trump.

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