The Value of New Donor Acquisition

An analysis of more than 35,000 donors over a 20-year period

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Email us about getting a Value of a New Donor Analysis customized for your instituton. We will use your own average gift and donor retention statistics to create the customized calculation.

 

Tomorrow’s capital campaigns demand new donors today. While major giving totals are up to record levels, donor participation has declined for years. In fact, every year the average institution has to replace 6,300 donors who do not renew.

Given the expense of donor acquisition, however, many institutions are questioning if it is worth the cost. A new analysis of 35,000 donors shows that the cumulative gains from donor acquisition are significant, with substantial gains in just the first five years.

Value of new fundraising donors

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The cumulative results: Growth from $3 million to $64 million in 20 years

RNL researchers analyzed the giving totals of 35,000 donors over a 20-year period, starting with donors who first gave in 1995. Figure 1 shows the cumulative results at five-year intervals for the entire group.

Value of new fundraising donors

Notice that these donors started small, with a median first gift of $100, but built up to a large cumulative total over time. These results illustrate the compounded benefit of cultivating new donors.

The return on new donors is nearly 20x over 20 years

 There are many factors that go into calculating the long-term value of new donors, but our research of industry trends shows that institutions realize substantial cumulative gains for new donors.

Figure 2 below shows the estimated cumulative dollars raised over a 20-year period by acquiring 500-5,000 new donors. Notice that even at five years, the cumulative amount increases by four times over the initial year. While many of the new donors dropped off, those that continued in their giving ramped up and provided incredible return to the institutions.

Value of new fundraising donors

 

Contact us about fundraising management strategiesReceive your own Value of a New Donor Analysis

Ruffalo Noel Levitz provides a customized Value of a New Donor Calculator that takes an institution’s existing data to show:

  • The 20-year value of new donors (in 5-year increments)
  • The number of donors expected to convert to large/major gift donors over 20 years
We will use your own average gift and donor retention statstics to create the customized calculation.

Email us to receive your Value of a New Donor Analysis.

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