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Will 2022 Show the Tipping Point for Recurring Gifts?

You know I’m always on the lookout for new statistics and trends. I couldn’t do my job without it and I wish there were a lot more available on recurring giving. That’s why I was really excited to read the recent Blackbaud Institute study, “Tipping Point: Aligning with Supporters in a Changing World.”

The research team interviewed 1,168 nonprofit professionals and 1,024 new donors who first gave to a variety of causes in 2020.

New donors participating in the study offered hope, especially for those organizations that have at least some focus on recurring gifts.

To quote the study: “A third of participating donors said they are “very likely” to give again to organizations they first supported in 2020, with only a slightly smaller proportion (29%) saying they would be “very likely” to become monthly sustainers. Notably, these percentages are higher than the industry-wide, first-year retention rate, which hovers around 25%.“

Just think, if you could get 29% of your new donors to start giving monthly, wouldn’t that be fantastic? On average, organizations are seeing some 15% of their donors give monthly, so that would be a considerable uptick. 

Will 2022 finally be the tipping point for recurring donors? I sure hope so because it would help nonprofits and their sustainability in a major way.

Younger donors especially are usually not able or ready yet to write the big checks.

Younger donors are very much used to subscriptions. They are more comfortable using their bank account. They’re more comfortable giving online.

Those organizations that started focusing on monthly gifts are starting to reap the rewards. It doesn’t take much money any more to do this, just a bit of time. 

The study also indicated that it remains important for nonprofits to use their money wisely, report on how donations make a difference, and make donors feel appreciated.

Personalized content is key and even more important for donors than ever before. The way I see it: Fundraisers have the technology (maybe even too much). You know what to do but you don’t always apply it, because leadership may still be too focused on hitting numbers instead of building long-term relationships. Recurring giving is a great start to helping you do just that.

It’s time for everybody to get on the same, long-term page. I know that’s easier said than done but perhaps research like this helps move that along. 

Let me leave you with this final quote from the report:

It’s important to remember that fundraising as we know it gets a lot of things right. Done well, it’s about relationships and building communities of caring folks committed to making a better world.”

First published on Nonprofit Pro January 27, 2022.

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