The October Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving held mixed results for nonprofit fundraisers, and it contained several important trends that are worth noting as your organization considers its strategic fundraising plan for the next year. While the three month period ending in August saw a slight 1.4% uptick in year-over-year revenue, organizations are still struggling to show positive fundraising growth in 2010, according to the index.

An interesting trend to note is that much of the growth in fundraising activity is occurring for smaller organizations, defined by Blackbaud as having prior year revenue of less than $1 million. These organizations saw an 11.2% year-over-year increase in fundraising in this three month period, while medium organizations—those with between $1 million and $10 million in prior year revenue—saw three month total revenue fall short of previous year totals for the 12th consecutive month.

A bright spot that all nonprofit fundraisers should note is the continued strength of online fundraising revenue. For the 12th straight month, trailing three-month revenue from online operations increased. Online giving now accounts for 18.5 percent of total fundraising in Blackbaud’s cohort of 1,676 organizations. While total fundraising receipts have decreased for organizations with more than $1 million in prior year revenue, online fundraising receipts have been up year-over-year for organizations of all sizes in each of the past 12 reports.

Though this shift in giving habits should not come as a surprise, organizations should continue their focus on developing robust online fundraising operations through social media outreach, content development, and email campaigns to take full advantage of this shift in donor activity. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you optimize your 4th quarter fundraising efforts, based on the takeaways from the Blackbaud report:

Quick Tips:

  • Learn from the way Blackbaud segments fundraising efforts to glean insights into effective strategies. Do an audit of your current donor marketing campaign to see areas that are attracting an increasing amount of donations and areas that are seeing declining results, so you can allocate resources appropriately.
  • Focus on donor landing page optimization; test combinations of messages and images to see which configuration yields the largest percentage of donors. Implement your findings to capitalize on the increased donor attention to nonprofits during this season.
  • Give your current marketing efforts a face-lift. You can change colors to be seasonal, develop a more direct call to action that is relevant to the time of year, and even use heat-mapping technology to understand which parts of your website are getting the most attention from your users.
  • Capitalize on free methods for outreach.
  • Increase your blog thought leadership to attract donors through organic search and by submitting the blog posts to social content sharing sites like StumbleUpon and Digg.
  • Customize your social network accounts to make them stand out from others. Use methods like designing custom Twitter backgrounds, building Facebook landing pages with calls to action, and creating topic-specific LinkedIn Groups.


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