In this webinar, we review FY22 Benchmarks for 7 Key Metrics, uncover FY23 trends, share tools you can use to track your station’s performance and discuss how you can incorporate this information as you start to think about building budgets for the next fiscal year.
EVP, Client Relationships, Public Media
VP, Client Relationships, Public Media
Good afternoon everyone. I am your co-host, Debbie Merino. I’m EVP of Client Relationships, and I’m joined today by Brett Jones, Vice President of Client Relationships. Together, Brett and I lead the Public Media practice within our agency. So you may not be aware that Allegiance Group works with a number of nonprofits of all different types, but by far, we work with more public media organizations than any other type of nonprofit.
And Brett and I together run what we call internally a practice, just meaning the collection of nonprofits in that public media space. And it’s our job to ensure a couple of things. Number one, that all of our clients are extremely happy and delighted by the services that we offer, but number two, to ensure that all of the learnings from each of our clients are being shared with all the other clients within that agency so that every public media client who works with us, who has an agency relationship with us is getting two things.
Number one, that they’re getting customized fundraising program. But then number two, that we’re also leveraging the knowledge from all of the different public media clients that we work with.
Today’s agenda, we’re going to talk very quickly about the difference between information and insight. We’re going to review key performance metrics for public media for FY 22, and take a look at some early FY 23 trending. And then, we’ll wrap up by talking about some tools that you can use. And how do you incorporate the things that you learned today?
How do you get those same numbers for your own station? And then how do you take that information and put it into an actionable plan as you’re thinking about the next fiscal year.
So information versus insight, this is really a continuum with data at one end and insight at the very opposite end of the continuum. Data, I think of that really just like a data point or maybe a singular transaction in your CRM. There’s no context around it. When you get to information, that’s where there’s a little more context.
So for example, we might say that, oh, the response rate is 5%. So that’s information, but it doesn’t really have any insight around it. And that’s really what we’re shooting for today. the response rate is 5%. It’s up from X percent last year. And the reason for that is whatever and what are we going to do about that?
So it’s taking information and turning it into insight is what our goal is today.
I think it’s really important to take some moments during the course of the year, I would say probably every quarter, to do this type of deep dive into your data to look at the highest level because oftentimes, it’s so easy for folks to get stuck in the weeds. And what I mean by that is, I think oftentimes people are looking at a singular direct mail campaign or maybe a calendar year-end digital campaign or pledge, and they’re looking at results from those discreet activities and they’re reporting on them, and they have goals for them and they’re reporting around them.
But what they don’t know is how do all of those campaigns and all those different channels when you put them together, what does that mean for your fundraising program? How are you moving? Where are the opportunities? Where are the challenges in the program? That’s really what we’re here to look at today.
So there’s a real difference in usage of campaign results versus database metrics. You need both, and so campaign results are extremely useful if you’re looking at a test that you did, maybe on a web form where you did an AB test or you did a test in direct mail. That’s when you want to be looking at campaign results.
Campaign results are also useful to help you determine if you’re achieving the goals of each discreet campaign. That’s how you’re going to get to your final goal, is if each little piece meets its intended revenue goal. It’s good to help you assess results by segment for individual discreet campaign and also identify some incremental opportunities for improvement in the next campaign.
But today, we’re going to be taking a bigger step back, like a 72,000-foot view, and be looking at some database metrics. These metrics will help you understand the health of the donor file, irrespective of the channel or the technique. So also just a good foundation to help you determine the strategy.
So the way that we approach it is you want to understand what’s happening to your donors or to your fundraising program at the highest level. And then, as an example, if you see that the database is shrinking and not growing, then you need a strategy, right? Your strategy would be to add more donors, and then the tactics come in with what are all the 20 million things that you’re going to do underneath that strategy to help you ultimately grow the donor base. So we’re going to be taking a look at those database metrics today, talking about how you can use the information for what’s happening across public media, give you some things to compare your own results to, and then take that data and know how to use it to build your own fundraising program.
These are the seven key metrics that we’re going to look at today in some detail. The data that you’ll be seeing comes from trend reports and other tools and data that Allegiance has available to us, based on our client’s performance. So the first one that we’re going to look at today is revenue growth.
So you can see, across the bottom, there’s an index number. So you can see in the timeframe that we’re looking at in the five years, there’s been some nice growth over the last five years in terms of revenue. there was a pretty steep increase from FY 20 to FY 21, which is really the height of the pandemic.
People’s behaviors were quite different. A lot of stations saw a bump during that timeframe, particularly TV stations that offer Passport. And people’s viewing habits changed. And we’re happy to see that those increases while not as steep into FY 22 have continued.
So we would encourage you as you’re looking at at these numbers to think about, what does your individual program look like? If you’re not seeing these positive trends, there’s something keep in mind is that there’s a few ways that you can increase revenue. So you can increase revenue by expanding the number of active donors that you have.
You could try to increase your average gift. You could also try to increase the number of gifts per donor. So try to get more gifts from each donor, individually. and something else to think about if you use the Allegiance CRM and you’re hosted on the Cloud, you have available to you what we call our Essential Dashboard.
It’s a really useful tool. This shows a summary in the Essential Dashboard of each of the key metrics that we’re going to look at today. You should have received a URL from your account executive. If you have any questions, we’ll provide some information of how you can follow up.
But again, this is a snapshot of those same seven metrics that we’re going to look at today. So your contact to get more information about your Essential Dashboard, is Savannah Sauvageau. Savannah is our Director of Client Success.
She’s been with Allegiance for nine years and is in a new role. Her job is to make sure that your experience with our CRM is positive and she’s a terrific resource for help and guidance on how to use your system.
And this is one new tool that Savannah can help you with.
So just one quick thing. As Brett mentioned, the Essential Dashboard was rolled out to all Allegiance CRM users who are hosted on the Cloud. The rollout started in July. We finished rolling it out in December, and you would’ve received an email from your account executive with a link.
So again, if you don’t have that link, if you can’t put your fingers on it, if you have questions, you can reach out to Savannah. Barring that, you can reach out to your account executive, and we’ll help to make sure that you’re able to access the tool. There’s also a bunch of videos and a user guide on the Allegiance knowledge base as well.
And our clients that are using the Essential Dashboard right now are finding it tremendously helpful. We do trend reports for a number of our clients, on a fiscal year basis. but this is something that you could check every day.
So here you’ll see, these are major donor trends or not major trends for revenue over $1,200. Really nice bump in from FY 21 to FY 22, our guess is that really has a lot to do with, pandemic restrictions being lifted. People are, able to get, back in the habit of having more of that one-on-one contact.
And it’s certainly paying off. So this is one, this is slide that we’re happy to see. On the orange line, you can see that’s the index for the sustainers for sustainer growth, and on the bottom for single gift donors. So you’ll see that there was a slight dip from FY 21 to FY 22 in terms of single gift donors, very small, but really nice, continued increase for sustainers.
We’ll look at some interesting information about how sustainer versus single gift donors compare to one another. But something to keep in mind about sustainers is that it’s difficult to get them to make an add gift and it’s difficult to get them to upgrade.
So as important as it is to see this great sustainer trend here, it’s just as important to maintain that single gift program. Your single gifts are going to be your future multi-year donors, maybe even future sustainers. So they provide a very important source of revenue.
Not all of your donors are going to want to become sustainers, so we really believe strongly in really looking at both groups, continuing, keeping on track during times like, quite honestly now, like with recession fears, keeping focused on the strategy and know, continuing donor acquisition and lapse recapture.
And if I could just take a step back before we get too deep into sharing much more information, just in case folks are a little unsure about how to read some of these slides. Cuz what you will see in almost all of the slides that we’re going to share today is that it’s all based on these percentages.
If we’re looking at these five year trends, so we think about FY 18 as the starting point. And if you look at the sustainer line, if you look at the chart below, we’re saying that from FY 18 to FY 19, there was 14% growth, right? And then for single gift donors, there was 3% decrease from the prior year.
So that’s what those percentages mean. You’ll see that in every slide, whether we’re talking about revenue or whether we’re talking about dollars. Most of the slides that you see, it will be shown in percentages to show the percentage change from year to year.
And we got a very important question, I think, to provide some context in the Q and A.
The fiscal years are defined as July, starting July 1. So July 1 to June 30, we do have some information on giving in the last six calendar months, but the numbers that you’re seeing here are based on a July 1 fiscal year.
And then, because we did talk about it a little earlier, I did just want to add that for those people who do have the Essential Dashboard, your data is based on your individual station fiscal year.
Okay, next slide. So this, again, very interesting trend. We’ve been seeing for a number of years that sustainers and single gift-giving are really not that different on an annual basis.
So in terms of how much revenue you’re getting from your sustainers versus your single gifts, it’s pretty similar. We’ll see in a little bit that really the value in the sustainers has to do with the retention and their longevity on the file, and that makes a substantial difference. So we are really happy to see this.
We will see that files are getting smaller. We believe that has a lot to do with the economy and recession fears. And, I mean, let’s face it, like it’s just been a crazy few years, so all those things, it is a trend. And this is really not even only true in public media, it’s really just true in fundraising in general, that donor files are shrinking.
But we’re really happy to see that this revenue per donor for both your sustainers and your single gift donors, and the benchmarking is increasing. So even though there’s your donors, your most loyal supporters are coming out, and showing their support, which is really important. and if we look historically, we often.
We, often see this in times of trouble. In particular, I think about back to the big housing bubble burst back in 2008, this was a very common trend where donor files shrink, the revenue per donor increased, so it maintained revenue.
But what we know is that for future growth, you have to continue acquiring new donors. So that’s not just sustainer conversion, but that is, again, adding single gift donors even though when you see all these worrisome economic indicators, again, it’s a time to stay the course.
Continue with your strategy of acquisition and lapse, recapture, and just don’t go crazy. Make good solid decisions using your metrics, but again, really stay the course and continue to put donors into that pipeline.
It’s proven over and over again, that will put you in the best position once things start improv.
So I think one of the things that Brett and I said last year around this is that unfortunately for everyone on this webinar, what this means is that you have to have an and strategy, right?
You need to pay attention to both your sustainers and your single gift givers. Because although sustainers do have the greater long-term value because of retention, it really is, you need to be working sort of both sides of the coin the whole time.
So donor growth, as Brett was mentioning, we are seeing a little bit of a decline at the end of FY 22 in the overall active donor count. Again, while the numbers were up in. FY 21 and had gone up from FY 18 all the way through FY 21, that we started to see the total active donor count decline at the close of FY 22, a 2% decrease over the prior year.
I think as Brett mentioned, this is not just the case of public media. We are seeing this across all types of nonprofits. I will say that public media compared to other types of nonprofits are in a better position because you have many more sustainers as part of your donor file. So a lot of the stations that we’re working with are either just approaching or have recently flipped to a sustainer majority, meaning that 51% or more of their active donors are sustainers.
I think also as Brett mentioned, that even more recently over the last six months or so, we’ve seen the new donor counts for public media decline even more than this. So things to be thinking about is your new donor acquisition, lapsed recapture and renewal programs firing on all cylinders, as well as making sure that your back office operations for your sustainers are all in place and that you’re achieving the high retention rates that we know that sustainers can achieve, upward of 85% or more. So again, when building your budget for the upcoming fiscal year, need to be thinking about assuming that your donor file is shrinking as we’re seeing, where do you need to invest potentially? Do you need to be doing more direct mail acquisition? What are you doing in terms of digital advertising to help build the pipeline for new donors, right? In the same way that your 250 or $500 donor becomes a prospect for major giving, viewers and listeners become the prospects to become a new donor for the first time.
So you need to make sure that you have an adequate digital advertising program. Make sure that you’re getting enough people watching, listening and engaged to your station, so then we can flip them to a donor. Once they do become a new donor, it’s making share, making sure that the renewal and lapse recapture programs are being optimized.
So that might mean if you’re only doing direct mail renewals, making sure that you have a corresponding e-renewal program, one that includes a midnight renewal. Perhaps you’re adding a lapse shadow series to that as well. One of the things that we do in working with our clients is we really look at their historical results.
We look at their results by program, and then we identify where the opportunities are, right? So not every solution is right for every station because not everyone has the same problem, but we do see, again, that, overall, the number of active donors is declining. So you might want to start thinking about how are you going to tee up your programs for increasing new donors in the next fiscal year?
And we have some metrics coming up to talk to you about how you can help build that case.
And we just got a question. What is a midnight renewal? So a midnight e-renewal is an email that goes the last day of the month. And the idea is that, if you’re sending regular e-renewals, they would go around the time that your direct mail renewals are delivering, so that you have that one two punch. And then just your audience who is expiring that month would get a second e-renewal notice.
On the last day of the month that they’re expiring and the messages that their membership is expiring at midnight that night. So just to add a little bit of urgency at that time. We know that once a donor lapses, after they go, once they cross that threshold of being in their 13th month of membership, they get harder to recapture.
So that moment in time is really critical.
Thanks for that Brett. We are nearing the halfway point and we have a number of metrics to still go through. So just quickly, we just want to show that this is another snapshot from the Essential Dashboard. And this report right here, you can easily see if your own database is growing or shrinking.
So in this live example you can see that they’re not quite flat there, there’s been a little bit of shrinkage in terms of the size of the donor base where this station at the close of FY 22 had 291 fewer donors than they did the previous year. So these tools are available to help you identify these metrics again, very easily without running any sophisticated reports.
Looking at the revenue for the active donors. So these are folks that are giving less than $1,200 in the fiscal year, the thing to remember is that donors drive revenue. So if your active donor file isn’t growing, then you’re not on the path to long-term revenue. If you take a look here, you’ll see how there were bigger increases in donor counts and FY 20 and FY 21, right?
We had some nice growth there and the donor counts, and you’ll see that there was substantial growth in the revenue during those. To really put a fine point on it, the things that you need to be thinking about as you’re building your FY 24 plan is focusing on, in all channels, new donor acquisition, lap street capture, and donor renewal strategies.
And next we’re going to talk about donor retention, which is a topic that we love to talk about in public media. It’s really good to be in public media when it comes to retention. so what you can see here on the top is the sustainer retention. On the bottom is single gift retention. So that’s average for people multi-year, single, regardless of where they are in their history with you. So compared to other types of nonprofits, anything over 50% retention would be considered good. And mind you, that’s typically, as Debbie had mentioned earlier, most other types of nonprofits barely have a blip of a percentage of sustainers on their programs.
But even the 50%, public media benchmarking is, again at 57, 58%, so it, I think that demonstrates really the important role that stations have in the lives of their viewers or listeners or supporters, and in their communities. There’s really a lot of loyalty there.
Just a reminder, if you’re on the Cloud, you can see your own retention numbers on the Essential Dashboard and see what your trend has looked like over the last few years. It’s a really important thing to know. This looks at second year donors.
There’s an adage in fundraising that somebody’s not really a donor until they make a second gift. So we know that well in public media, as great as the retention is, I think everybody’s aware that, there are some people, maybe they give the single gift just to get a premium or whatever it is.
So we just want to be mindful of the behavior of those first year people and make sure that we’re converting them into real donors who have given multiple gifts. If you’re seeing some issues with your second year donor retention, there are some things that you can look at within your own program.
One is to look really hard at your acknowledgment program and make sure that you’re thinking donors in a timely manner. Also, if you think about your supporters, show their support because they like you, they care. And because of that, you shouldn’t be shy about asking them for their additional support.
Sometimes we hear stations talk about resting donors. We don’t really think that’s a good idea. If you’re properly stewarding and thanking and acknowledging people over time and you’re really building that relationship, then people won’t be put off by the ask.
Cuz again, they’re supporting you. They love your programs, they love your mission, and they want you to keep thriving in their community. Another thing to consider with your second year donors is are you collecting email addresses and communicating with that audience in multiple channels?
So important, especially these days. Email communication is a really great way to keep connected. It’s a terrific way to share programming updates and again, just to really establish and build that relationship with your donors second year or after they’ve been supporters for, for a while.
The other thing to consider is once somebody has been a donor for a year, think about how you’re acknowledging that anniversary. There is some emotion that goes into deciding to show their support for an organization. So by reminding them of that decision they made a year ago, is a really nice way to bring them back to why they made that decision to begin with.
And then the hope is that they will decide to support you again today.
So next we’re going to look at multi-donor retention. So very different numbers here from the second-year numbers. So again, if you think about that 50% average, in all types of nonprofits, these numbers are really incredible. what’s also really interesting is that as much as we talk about sustainers having a very high retention, your single gift donors, so those are non-sustainer multi-year donors, the retention is just incredible. And again, I think that it just goes back to the important role that stations and the programming have in people’s lives and really what community institutions stations really are. Acquisition really provides at a really important pipeline into building these long-term relationships. If you don’t have new donors coming into the pipeline, if they’re single gift or sustainer, you won’t maintain numbers like these because you’ll just start to see erosion in your program.
So very important to continue doing acquisition to keep these numbers thriving.
And then next, we’ll look at lapse reactivation. As we’re seeing fewer people giving to charities nationwide, again, with those donor files shrinking, you might see some declines in your reactivation rates. You might also see an increase in the number of lapsing donors, particularly in that 13 to 24 month range.
And again, the sooner you can recapture them the better. It’s very very important. Making sure that your renewal series uses both direct mail and email is very important. Don’t assume that just because the donor has always responded to you through the mail, that they don’t want to get emails.
Sometimes donors can respond to a direct mailing and email and vice versa. Just being aware of that multi-channel coordination. The midnight e-renewal, like we talked about, is another way to try to get them to not lapse.
Also consider, a renewal audit. that’s something that if you ever needed assistance with that, it’s something that Allegiance offers. It’s to take a deep dive into your performance numbers in your program to see even incremental changes can make a really substantial impact on your revenue.
and then a lapse shadow series is, I think, something that Debbie had mentioned earlier. so what that is if you think about, the cycle, of a donor, somebody’s an active donor, They go into their renewal series and then they lapse. so what, sometimes what we find successful is, to send those people then, an ad, gift message to talk to them just like they’re a donor and then send them another sort of mini-series where they get the first few notices of your renewal series.
The performance metrics are obviously different than they would be if they’re in the renewal cycle. We find that’s a really effective way and cost effective way to recapture donors. It can be very difficult to recapture lapsed sustainers, which is something that we’re doing a lot of testing with our stations, of different approaches with them. Something that we know is, uh, is lapsed sustainers are difficult to get back, but when they do come back they often do come back as a sustainer. So that is their preferred method of giving. something. To consider is how you message those people and the channel that you use. You might not send a regular quarterly message to them, but maybe they get special copy or you call them and ask them to come back as a sustainer in very targeted fashion.
So I can see we have a few questions in the little box here asking about, will you speak to recapturing sustainers with credit card EFT declines? A really good question. That’s one of the challenges of maintaining your sustainer data.
There are update or services that you can subscribe to that will provide you with updated credit card information. We strongly recommend that you look into those services. We also recommend that you have a system in place where you’re reaching out to people via email, and even sending out mailings, or even calling them before they decline. So to be aware of before, because it’s going to be harder once there’s been a decline. If you know that somebody’s card is expiring, reach out to them and make sure that you get them back quicker as opposed to letting the gift bounce and then trying to recapture them is a little bit harder.
There’s another question here. I always get asked about how many declined donors were recaptured and it’s always hard to pull out of this data. So I’m not sure if that’s specific to sustainers, or if it’s a matter of the single gift donors. The Essential Dashboard, if that’s a tool that you have available to you, should give you a sense for those numbers.
Allegiance also runs some trend reports where you can actually see those numbers, but I understand the challenges that people lapse, but you’re bringing in new people at the same time. So the question is how many net people are you recapturing versus how many people are you losing?
We would recommend looking at those tools. And if you do have some more specific questions or challenges, we would encourage you to reach out directly and we’d be happy to talk through that with you and help you get to the heart of those numbers and hopefully turn around any negative trends that you might seeing.
Yeah, and just to add to that, we didn’t show it in the version of the Essential Dashboard report that we showed a little while ago where you could see the net change in donors, but there is reporting in the Essential Dashboard that will show you by year how many multi-year donors do you have, how many second year donors do you have.
So that’s another tool of being able to track retention by lifecycle is how we think of it. So again, if you have questions, you can reach out to Brett and I directly and maybe we can dig in a little more for you. But the Essential Dashboard does provide an additional layer of information.
And then, Debbie, there’s a question here on the Cloud that I’ll pass on to you. So if we are on the Cloud, is the Essential Dashboard included or is there an additional charge to access it?
Yep, so the Essential Dashboard is a value add to your CRM, so there is not an additional charge for the Essential Dashboard. It’s something that we added starting in July of 2022 and then was rolled out to stations over a six month period.
We’re going to jump to the next metric, which is gift frequency. What’s the average number of gifts that a donor makes during the year? So along with the number of donors, an average gift frequency, I think of that as like the third leg of the stool.
One of the things that I wanted to call out here, if you look at the sustainer line, it seems like, and this is the difference, if you go back to our very slide where we talked about data, information, and insight. Think this is a great example. So if you look at the sustainer line here, we see that in FY 22, the gift frequency for sustainers in a fiscal year is 10.01 compared to 9.73 in the prior year, and it’s a five year high.
If you just think about that one data point, it seems like that’s terrific. However, the thing you have to think about is that we also said that we added new donors at a slower pace this year. So when you think about new sustainers, they could make their first sustaining gift in May or June at the end of a lot of people’s fiscal years. So that only counts as two gifts, right? A gift being a payment, not a pledge. So that sort of counts as two gifts in the fiscal year where somebody who became a sustainer for the first time three years ago and is making every payment is going to have 12 gifts in the fiscal year.
The reason I call this out is that when we don’t necessarily believe that people are getting better at their back office operations, right? What we saw in the retention for sustainers is that it’s hovering at about 85%, which is great, but it hasn’t jumped. So why has this number jumped?
The reason that there’s been more payments in FY 22 for the sustainers is because there’s been fewer new ones coming in to drop the average. Because the new people, unless they start in month one of your fiscal year, they’re not going to have 12 months of opportunities to give. So again, it’s really important when you look at data to have the context for that data.
In terms of the single gift, we’re looking at a gift frequency of about 1.42. So if you’re looking for ways to goose that number of gifts per donor, the gift frequency, the way to think about doing that, there’s multiple ways. One thing to think about is there another campaign that could be added during the year?
Typically the number of campaigns tend to follow the number of on-air drives that you have. If you’re a radio station and if you’re doing three on-air drives a year, you might find that there’s room for another direct mail campaign during the year. The other thing that I would have you think about is if you are a TV station or a joint licensee, consider a different type of appeal.
That might be a printed newsletter, like the one that we offer for about 22 public media stations in our newsletter cooperative. Another thing to consider is calendar year end, and a very robust calendar year end email program. We just wrapped up about two weeks ago, I think January 6th for us was the end where we ended with a stewardship email.
But our most robust calendar year end digital campaigns start just before Giving Tuesday, run through the holiday period, and then continue right along through December 31st, giving donors lots of opportunity to make another gift before the end of the calendar year. So those are just some of the ways that if you are seeing your gift frequency decline a little bit, those are some of the things that you could consider adding to your
Next we’ll talk about average gift. On the next slide, we have a snapshot of, again, back to the Essential Dashboard. This is a live example that I think shows really clearly the difference between average gift and revenue per donor.
They can sound similar, but they’re really quite different. We don’t want red here, but where the average gift is down almost 11%, that’s not necessarily a bad sign, right? That average gift is looking at the way that I think about it are the individual transactions.
All the public media stations that we work with, they’re always growing their sustainer programs. So by definition, those people are giving smaller, more frequent gifts. So that’s going to bring your average gift down. What we’d like to see here is that the revenue per donors going up, and ultimately that’s the goal.
We don’t need people to increase necessarily their individual transactions. If they’re becoming sustainers and they’re giving more per donor over time, that’s fantastic. That’s really what the goal is. The revenue per donor aggregates all of the giving for individual donors.
The average gift is just looking at the transaction amounts. On this next slide, this is looking at average gift. So again, that’s looking at those transaction level averages. so not surprising, sustainers much, much lower than the single gift programs. And the sustainers are really remarkably consistent over time.
It’s funny, we’ve seen all sorts of different trends during the pandemic, and this is one that has not budged. So it is difficult, as we’ve talked about, to upgrade sustainers. It’s difficult to get add gifts from sustainers, and difficult to upgrade them. Our recommendation is really to ensure that you maximize that initial gift amount.
For television stations, even though $5 a month qualifies a donor to receive access to Passport, we strongly encourage you not to ask them for $5. So on your website and your ask strings, there’s always an Other option, but we recommend that in terms of the amounts that you’re offering, that you started at least $10.
They can give $5 and still qualify, but we just don’t want to encourage people to give at that $5 level. So we don’t need to suggest it, and don’t need to promote it. The other thing to consider is having an upgrading program for your sustainers.
Don’t be afraid to ask them to increase their monthly transaction amount.
Next we’re going to look at donor value. Here, we’re looking at the five year donor value of a sustainer versus a non-sustainer or a single gift donor.
And as Brett was saying, while in a single while, Brett was saying earlier, while in a single year, the revenue from each of those cohorts is somewhat similar. You can see that over time the. Long-term value, or the donor value for a sustainer is far greater than that of a single gift giver, and that’s driven by the overall higher retention rate of the sustainers at about 85%.
and this gap is just widening. So last year when we did the same webinar, the five year donor value for sustainers was four 11. and the five year donor value for the single gift donors was 2 33. so again, we’re seeing even more increases in the five year value, for sustainers over time. So really the true value in Sustainers is really in your ability to bring them on at a reasonable amount.
Like Brett was just saying, Passport, yes, it’s available at $5, doesn’t mean that on your website, for example, or in an e-appeal on the donation page, that $5 should be the first ask, or that $5 should be one of the suggested amounts at all. Again, closer to that 10, $14 average.
And then again, keeping those sustainers on the file, making sure that you are optimizing that program.
Thought it would be interesting to take a look at sort of the value mix of all donors. So what we see here is that at the top half of the chart is that about 88% of the station’s donors are generating just 39% of the revenue. And for most stations, we’re seeing a majority of the donors at that 100 to 249 level.
I think with pretty much every station that I’ve been talking to over the past three or four months, that the majority of their donors are in that 100 to 249 category. And that’s cumulative giving for a year, whether you’ve given 10 gifts of $10 or whether you’ve given $150, single gift.
But where we really think there is a lack of attention is what, and we call the mid-level launchpad. So I know a lot of stations have had an emphasis on major donors for a long time. They’ve been working towards putting more of the focus on mid-level donors at that 500 to 1199 level.
But we feel like the area that has a lot of potential and is often overlooked are those 250 to 499 donors. So a report like this is also available in the Essential Dashboard, and if you have that tool available to you, I do think it would be worthwhile for you to take a look at how many donors and what percent of your revenue is in that 250 to 499 group, and is it worth spending a little bit more money and maybe paying a little bit more attention to that segment to start to move them into that $500 mid-level donor group.
So the last metric that we’re going to look at today is cost to acquire. so what the cost to acquire is how much you’re spending, how much you’re investing, to acquire a new donor, quite simply. It’s a really important, figure to know and understand.
This shows an example from some direct mail programs that we’ve worked with. So you can calculate it by package or campaign, or even by channel. So just understanding what that investment is per new donor, because it’ll help you evaluate your plans. If you’re looking at your direct mail acquisition program, on the surface it might not seem like it makes sense to lose money. But if you go back to those long-term value numbers that Debbie was just sharing, that’s where the payoff is.
So understanding how much to invest in acquisition is very, very important to understand. Typically a program will start turning a profit on their acquisition names within a year or two, the benchmark that we typically see and strive for.
Understanding how much acquisition you should be doing, how to allocate your budget dollars, how to make a case for doing acquisition. to your CFO, to your CEO, to your controller, it’s something that’s really important to understand.
That completes the FY 22 benchmarks. We do just want to take a quick peek at what we’re seeing so far in 2023. We have a trend summary here, that’s on a heat map. So the idea on a heat map, if you haven’t seen one before, is that the dark green shows very positive trends.
Light green is positive but not as strong. And then it goes into the pink. And then the darker red is the more negative trends.
This FY 23 trend is looking at the last six months of the calendar year, so the end of calendar year 2022. We are seeing positive trends when it comes to revenue, and to sustainer revenue in particular, that the revenue growth is really being driven by sustainer growth.
We are continuing to see a decline in the number of active donors, which we’ve talked about today is something that all nonprofits are seeing in general. We’re seeing donor follow shrinking, but what we’re seeing in this is that your loyal supporters are still coming out to support the station.
With all the right things in place, we’re just not seeing as many new donors as a result of all these trends. It’s very important, like we’ve talked about in, in a couple of different ways today, to stay the course, continue, to do your acquisition and, maintain your strategy.
And then when we’re through this rough time, you’ll have those donors in place to really drive those revenue increases. If you take your foot off the gas now and pull back, you’ll be in a much weaker position at a later date. Again, we just really strongly encourage you to stay the course and continue all the activities that you should be doing.
Thank you. If you found the. Information and the insight, from this webinar helpful. I would assume that you would be thinking like, this is great. It’s nice to know what the benchmarks are, but how can I get at the data for my own program? So there’s two places to do that. Number one, you’ve heard us mention a handful of time, the Essential Dashboard.
So again, if you are an Allegiance CRM client and you are hosted on the Cloud, this tool is up and running. It’s available to you already. It’s set to your individual fiscal year so you can reach out to Savannah Sauvageau, your account executive, or myself, Debbie Merino. If you’re not sure about how to access it, if you are not an Allegiance CRM client, my first question is, why not?
But the next thing I would say is even if you’re not an Allegiance CRM client, a majority of the reports that we showed you today were from our Strategic Growth Analysis, which is a five-year trending report. And regardless of what CRM you use, we’d be happy to do this project for you, run a Strategic Growth Analysis using your data, and then provide you with a presentation similar to this one where we talk about what the trends have been at your own station, and then also some recommended actions for you to take either to shore up some weaknesses or how to take advantage of some strengths in your program.
So we do have a question. The question is, is the percentage change from 2018 or June 30 22. So in terms of the heat map that we were just looking at, that is from July 1st, 2022 to date. July 1 through the end of the calendar year. But for all of our reporting today, when we would show the year, so 2018, that was always a fiscal year. even though we understand not all organizations run under July 1 fiscal year, these numbers today did all run on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year.
But the Essential Dashboard and the Strategic Growth Analysis, when we build those reports, those are based on your fiscal year. So if you’re, for instance, an October 1 fiscal year, then those reports would be based on an October 1 to September 30th year.
If you operate in a calendar year, then they would reflect calendar year. So those numbers are always based on your own system.
So just, getting us over the finish line, once you access this information and evaluate it and uncover the key insights, really the question is how do you incorporate this information into your own fundraising plans? There’s really six questions that we think that you should be asking yourself, which is, number one, what’s year revenue trend been like?
One of the key metrics to be looking at and then the size of the active donor base. Have you acquired and renewed fewer donors this year than last? Basically, is your donor base growing or shrinking? What’s your cost to acquire a new donor? And then using that CTA, cost to acquire, to build a business plan for why you may need to invest more in direct mail acquisition or digital advertising and then be able to show, even though it’s a net number, to acquire that donor initially, when you then show your first year retention rate, and then talk about what the revenue per donor is, that’s how you’re able to make a business case for that investment.
Other questions that you should be asking yourself is what about donor retention? Are certain segments of your file experiencing uncharacteristic declines in donor retention? And what can you do to shore that up? We’ve talked about some of those things already. Perhaps it’s adding an e-renewal series if you don’t have one.
We think that’s one of the most basic things that everybody should be doing. Maybe it’s an audit of your monthly renewal program. That’s something that oftentimes when stations are, strapped for resources, it can kind of feel like a set it and forget it program. But monthly renewals bring in still a good part of your overall revenue.
It’s the majority of revenue from your single gift donors come from the monthly renewals. So you want to make sure if you’re not looking at that program regularly, that either you are evaluating that program once a year or that you’re seeking help from an outside partner to audit that program for you.
Have you seen changes in gift frequency or the size of the average gift? Again, if the gift frequency is declining, is there an opportunity to add another campaign? Is there an opportunity to add a different type of appeal such as a printed newsletter? Do you have a robust calendar year end digital program?
Those are all the things that you can do. And again, as we mentioned here, what are your plans for Giving Tuesday and calendar year end? I know it’s just January, but start thinking about that now and make sure that fits into your budget for the next fiscal year.
So with that, Brett, and I want to thank you for your time. If there are, I don’t see any additional questions right now but if you do have any further questions, you can add them to the q and a box. You can always email Brett or myself or reach out to your Allegiance account executive.
We’re all here to help you in whatever you need.
Our website is teamallegiance.com and you can connect with us through our website. But our email addresses are always our first initial last [email protected].
Thank you for your time and attention. And again, if you have any questions, reach out to us via email. You can also connect to us through your account. Executive happy to help you as you’re making plans for the upcoming fiscal year.
Great. Thank you. Thank, bye-Bye.