Ten years ago, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute launched the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. This project surveys nonprofits each year to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the development work they do. The 2015-2016 study included data from 10,829 nonprofit organizations.
The 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report included large nonprofit software firms including Bloomerang, Donor Perfect, eTapestry and Neon. They recorded a 3% growth in overall funds raised, reaching $9.129B. This represented gifts from 8.91 million donors, a slight increase from the previous year.
The efficiencies and retention rates raised some significant questions. The data showed only a 45% gift retention rate and a 43% donor retention rate. The average gift retention rate has been under 50% for the past ten years. For every $100 gained in new and recovered gifts, $95 was lost with lapsed gifts. For every 100 new donors, 99 are lost.
It is noteworthy that giving as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has held flat at 2% for 40 years in the United States.