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Pursuant Insights, the analytics division of fundraising agency Pursuant, has released its inaugural Donor Loyalty Benchmarking Study to equip philanthropy leaders with the most important insights and takeaways around increasing the overall loyalty, commitment, and generosity of today’s donors. Led by Hilary Noon, Executive Director of Pursuant Insights, and her team, the study provides a holistic view into donor loyalty by establishing industry benchmarks around lifetime value and retention across channels, sources, and giving levels.

“Our hope is that this inaugural Donor Loyalty Benchmarking Study will provide a baseline and framework that organizations can use to focus on donor loyalty by improving retention and increasing the lifetime value of their donors regardless of how they engage with an organization,” explained Hilary Noon. “Doing so will help leaders work across departments to truly unpack why certain donors are more or less connected to their cause.”

“As an agency committed to inspiring passionate people to change the world, we at Pursuant wanted to help our industry discover ways to increase the loyalty and passion of today’s donors,” notes Trent Ricker, President and CEO of Pursuant. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work our team has done to establish what donor loyalty means and how we measure it across
channels, sources, and giving levels.”

Study Methodology & Participating Organizations

The study analyzed over 10 years of individual giving data from 21 nonprofit organizations across multiple sectors. While admittedly small in size, the study’s findings reinforce broader studies taking place across the industry and provide valuable insights for deeper testing within any nonprofit’s approach to donor experience and stewardship efforts. All giving sources were included.

Notable organizations participating in the study include Alzheimer’s Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Children’s Medical Center, Penn Medicine, Washington National Cathedral, and Pepperdine University.

“With other industry benchmarking, the data can be as much as 18 months out of date,” noted Maureen Frasier, Senior Executive Director of Development Information at Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations, one of the participating organizations in the study. “This report provided us with valuable information on the most recent fiscal year, which is much more actionable.”

In addition to establishing benchmarks related to donor loyalty across the philanthropic sector, the study also provides detailed insights into sub-sectors such as Arts & Culture, Faith-based organizations, Healthcare Foundations, Multi-Affiliate Organizations, and Higher Education Institutions.

Insights & Takeaways:

Key insights from the study include…

  • A majority of donors “transact” with participating organizations — 62% of donors have only one gift in their lifetime.
  • In comparing 2018 to 2017, organizations in this study were able to offset poor retention rates with large volumes of new donors — The average retention rate is 34% YOY, but overall coverage ratio for participating organizations was healthy because of the number of new donors that came in 2018.
  • Despite lower retention rates, donor lifetime revenue is healthy — The average lifetime revenue per donor across organizations was $648.
  • The donors’ overall lifetime value reveals tremendous untapped opportunity — while the average revenue per donor currently benchmarks at $648, the average donor lifetime value was discovered to be $1,068.

By including a variety of organizations that raise funds in different ways, the study was able to identify how those differences impact connection and loyalty. For example, Faith based organizations were second only to Hospitals in driving the highest lifetime value due to frequent giving over long periods of time. Similarly, the study identified strength in loyalty indicators among smaller organizations vs. larger ones. These insights demonstrate that organizations may benefit from going outside their cohort groups to study practices that are working for organizations they may never have thought to analyze.

“We were interested in taking part in this study because it included a variety of organizations that raised money in different ways,” highlighted one of the participating organizations. “The study gave us really valuable insights into practices and strategies we would not have recognized without it.’

How to Obtain the Study

Pursuant Insights’ Donor Loyalty Benchmarking Study is available to download for free at Pursuant.com/LoyaltyBenchmark

Pursuant Insights, based in Dallas, Texas, is the data, analytics, and insights division within The Pursuant Group platform of companies. Established as a practice within The Pursuant Group in 2016, Pursuant Insights has helped some of the largest nonprofit, higher education, and healthcare brands gain greater insight into their data across a wide variety of functions within the organization. By digging deep into the data and applying our knowledge of the nonprofit industry, the team at Pursuant Insights has helped to advance the effectiveness of fundraising and communications strategies, as well as provide an objective data-driven perspective for organizations seeking to understand opportunities for improvement and growth.

The Pursuant Group, based in Dallas, Texas, is a fundraising platform of services and technology tools that leverages strategy, insights, and creative storytelling to help nonprofit organizations change the world. Founded in 2001, Pursuant exclusively serves the nonprofit space through its Pursuant Fundraising, Pursuant Insights, TouchPoint Software, Causemo, and Advizor brands.

Contact Info:
For inquiries, please reach out to Taylor Shanklin, VP Marketing at The Pursuant Group.
email: taylor.shanklin@pursuant.wpengine.com
phone: 214.866.7827