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What You Need to Know About The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark Study

By August 10, 2018

Recurring GivingBy: Brady Josephson, Vice President, Innovation & Optimization, NextAfter

I’ve spent my entire career in the nonprofit space as a marketer, fundraiser, professor, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur (I’m a total charity nerd), and one thing I’ve learned is how crucial recurring giving can be for nonprofits.

That’s why I’m so excited about The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark Study and over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing some of the key findings and what you can do to improve your recurring giving program based on those:

    1. What You Need to Know About The Nonprofit Recurring Benchmark Study
    2. 3 Things I Learned About Recurring Giving from Making 345 Donations to 115 Nonprofits
    3. 8 Things You Can Do to Optimize Your Recurring Giving Experience
    4. 3 Things I Learned About Recurring Giving Communications from 4500 Touchpoints from 115 Nonprofits
    5. 6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Recurring Giving Communications

So before we dive into what you can learn and do to improve your recurring giving program, I want to share a bit more on why recurring giving is so important and how we went about this study.

Recurring Donors: The Pillars of Nonprofit Fundraising

Recurring giving is incredibly valuable to nonprofits, since recurring donors can be worth up to 4 times more in the lifetime than one time donors. These programs, when done well, can offer donors a high-impact, high convenience method of giving to support causes they believe in. And recurring giving programs in the United States seem to be on the rise—75% growth in 2017 according to one benchmark group—which follows the e-commerce trend where subscription based purchasing has grown 100% in the last 5 years. So recurring giving is good for you, good for donors, and growing (I put together a post with all these stats and more reasons why recurring giving is crucial to your fundraising here).

And yet, as we went about our research and testing, it seemed like many nonprofits weren’t focusing on their recurring giving programs as much as we thought they should. And that got us wondering what the actual donor experience was like for people who were recurring donors. So, we worked with (check out Nonprofit Cloud in case you haven’t seen it lately!) to research recurring giving.

We went out and gave three different gifts—one-time, one-time and converted to recurring, and recurring—from three different donors to 115 nonprofits in 9 different verticals and tracked the giving experience and communications along the way. We even reported one credit card as lost and the other as stolen to see what kind of systems nonprofits had in place.

Our goal was to experience recurring giving through the eyes of the donor—who receives a nonprofit’s marketing and communications. We wanted to better understand what is currently going on in the nonprofit industry but also identify areas for opportunity and optimization in three main areas:

    1. How can the donation process be improved?
    2. How can the communications with recurring donors be improved?
    3. How can the handling of lost, stolen, and canceled credit cards be improved?

I hope you find the report and posts useful!

Get all the statistics and insights to improve your nonprofit fundraising with your free copy of The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark Study.


The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark Study

About the Author
Brady JosephsonBrady Josephson is a charity nerd, entrepreneur, digital marketer, professor, and writer. He’s the Vice President of Innovation and Optimization at NextAfter — a fundraising research lab and consultancy on a mission to unleash the most generous generation in the history of the world.

He’s spent his entire career in the nonprofit world working for nonprofits, in technology, and as a consultant. He’s an international speaker whose work and writing have been featured in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, NPR, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among others.

Brady lives just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with his wife Liz, son Hendrix, dog Melly, and cat Thor. Connect with Brady on LinkedIn, Twitter, or email: brady[@]