Small, Midsize Nonprofits Retain 60 Percent of Individual Donors

On average, small and midsize nonprofit organizations raised 36 percent of their revenue from individuals in 2016, up slightly from 34 percent in 2015, while their donor-retention rate held steady at 60 percent, a data brief from nonprofit consultancy Third Space Studio finds.

Based on a survey of a hundred and fifty-five nonprofits with budgets under $2 million, the 2016 Individual Donor Benchmark Data Brief found that the smallest organizations (revenue under $200,000) raised a larger share of their revenue from individuals, 48 percent (up from 45 percent in 2015), compared with 24 percent (down from 30 percent) for midsize organizations (between $1 million and $1.999 million). According to the  brief, 11 percent of individual donors made recurring gifts in 2016, accounting for 12 percent of revenue from individual donors, down slightly from 14 percent in 2015. The study also found that 40 percent of donors gave online, accounting for 24 percent of revenue from individual donors, up from 21 percent.

Supported by DonorPerfect, Little Green Light, AGH Strategies, the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, and others, the survey also found that 48 percent of revenue from individual donors came from those who gave at least $1,000, down slightly from 50 percent in 2015, and that 38 percent of board members — down slightly from 40 percent — were engaged in individual fundraising efforts. In addition, 74 percent of survey respondents reported having a fundraising plan — although only 12 percent said they consult and adjust it "all the time" — ranging from a calendar of fundraising activities (82 percent) and a list of overall strategies and goals (82 percent), to an assessment of the previous year’s fundraising results (61 percent) and a detailed breakdown of activities and sub-goals (47 percent).

"2016 Individual Donor Benchmark Data Brief." Third Space Studio Report 07/05/2017.