Reporting live from end-of-year fundraising, it’s Samantha Shain! Over at EQAT headquarters (just kidding, we don’t even have an office), we’ve been hard at work writing our annual appeal, mail merging, stuffing envelopes, preparing phonebank scripts, preparing phonebank call sheets, recruiting phonebank volunteers, following up with major donors who plan to make a gift this year, and planning out fundraising strategies for 2019 and even 2020. That may sound pretty similar to what YOUR main-squeeze justice organization is up to, unless you’re trying out other brilliant tactics like peer-to-peer fundraising, digital appeals, galas, or more! I applaud all of it! Our movements need resources to succeed, and while fundraising isn’t glamorous, it’s definitely necessary. And it DEFINITELY requires some data strategies.
What better way to look at fundraising data than Giving Tuesday, allegedly the single biggest day of donations of the year? The numbers are still coming in, but I wanted to do a bit of a #GivingTuesday roundup, and see what’s out there for us to learn. First, let’s look at the numbers for 2018!
On Giving Tuesday alone, there were $380 million donated online in the United States, totaling 3.6 million individual gifts with an average gift size of $105.55.Giving Tuesday Surpasses Billion Dollars in Online Donations Since its Inception, In Most Generous Year Yet (read more)
This is around a 25% increase over last year (some numbers are still being crunched…), waaay surpassing projections from technology firm Whole Whale. Amazing!
Now, let’s look at the mechanics of Giving Tuesday. I loved this analysis from Classy, a company (and Salesforce app) that processes peer-to-peer fundraisers. They put together a blog post to analyze if Giving Tuesday cannibalizes end of year donations. Their answer? Definitively not. Backed up by #data.
Giving Tuesday donors are 60 percent more likely to give multiple times on that one day compared to donors who give on a typical day or during disaster relief, and 150 percent more likely to give multiple times in one day than on other days during end-of-year fundraising.
Our Giving Tuesday data show that this day is an absolute bonanza of new prospects. It brings in twice as many new donors as December 31, three times more than a typical day during disaster relief, and over 13 times more than a typical day.
New donors who give multiple times? Sounds goooooood to me!
Ok, back to the “bird’s eye view.” Giving Tuesday researchers and wonks say that there’s a real lack of substantive data on what researchers call “the social sector,” so they put together the #GivingTuesdayDataCollaborative to answer….
Learn more here and here!
What happens to the data collected by hundreds of #GivingTuesday giving platforms, payment processors, social media companies, and nonprofits around the world? How can these diverse data sources come together to yield a rich, detailed picture of giving trends? Can this type of global, cross-sector data sharing be done safely and securely?
According to their research, data collaboration is common in the private sector, where shared insights can help everyone achieve their goals. But historically, payment processors (like Paypal and others) haven’t worked together to aggregate donation information and draw insights, so this approach is somewhat unprecedented! The Collaborative hosted a several hacks and came out with this fascinating report with 2017 data. I’m excited to see what they come up with this year!
I’m a huge nerd and I know I’m not the only one, but this type of bird’s eye view is most useful for me when I can make meaning in my own work. (remember our old friend, the DIKW pyramid, Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom?)
Recently, I did a big data dump of all of EQAT’s donation history so that I could look for trends over the past few years and make recommendations for 2019 and 2020 fundraising strategies. First, I cleaned and standardized the data, including re-coding some of the donation categories into fundraising tactics that made more sense to me. Then, I filtered the data and found average, median, and mode donation amounts for each year (with and without major donors included). Next, I summarized the data based on number of donors, number of donations, and number of donations per donor per year. I used Pivot Tables to make these calculations. Finally, I created some charts to compare donor types and help reveal our “standard” donor so that maybe we can recruit some more of them! All of this was before I took this deeper dive into Giving Tuesday stats.
Here’s what I learned about Giving Tuesday:
- Statistically, it won’t ruin your end of year donation drive
- Giving Tuesday is extremely effective at recruiting new donors (often through social media)
- Many donors give to multiple organizations on Giving Tuesday
- Giving Tuesday, December 31, and the days surrounding a natural disaster are the biggest spikes in donation data
- Part of Giving Tuesday’s success can be attributed to being a decentralized effortA rising tide lifts all boats!
If your campaign or organization did a Giving Tuesday fundraising drive, I’d love to hear how it went! Did your donations end up similar or different to the average gift amount of $105.55? Do you need help calculating the average? Don’t be afraid to reach out! And to all of you hustling to make your end of year budgets, thank you for your work and leadership from the bottom of my spreadsheet-lovin’ <3