Benchmark Insights: How Recurring Giving Builds Long-Term Support

Katrina –

Dataro’s Fundraising Benchmark Report (2023) reveals organizations who grew recurring giving income in 2022 typically outperformed others without a robust recurring giving program.

According to our analysis of the fundraising data from 117 global nonprofits, recurring giving income increased in 2022 by 6.93% YOY and 65.71% of organizations in the analysis grew income from their monthly donor programs.

The typical nonprofit in the analysis (the median nonprofit) grew recurring giving by 5.16% YOY in 2022. In contrast, only 38% of the charities and nonprofits analyzed achieved income growth in their appeal program with the typical organization seeing a 7.26% decline in direct mail giving.

This statistic highlights the opportunity for charities to diversify their fundraising income and build more sustainable and reliable income streams through recurring giving. This strategy is especially impactful in times of economic uncertainty when many nonprofits find it difficult to secure donations through appeals programs. The monthly income generated by recurring giving programs can provide a financial cushion when times are tough.

Recurring giving programs were a bright spot in the fundraising landscape in 2022 and represents one of the strongest opportunities for income growth in 2023.

While recurring giving is an increasingly important area of fundraising, many organizations still don’t realize the true value of this type of fundraising and the strategic impact of conversion versus acquisition strategies for growing annual income and long-term support from your donors.

Acquisition remains key to growing your monthly donor base and introducing new donors to your cause. But an often overlooked and highly cost-effective strategy for growing recurring giving is converting existing donors.

Our benchmark report reveals that in 2022, nonprofits acquired 5.22% more new-to-file monthly donors than the previous year. However, there was a decline in the number of donors converted from other fundraising activities, with 16.87% less donors converted in 2022 versus 2021.

In fact, 4x as many new-to-file monthly donors were acquired, compared to those who were converted from other activities.

Both newly acquired and converted recurring donors gave the same size gift in 2022 ($29 per month on average), but their retention and LTV over the longer-term are dramatically different.

Donors who are converted from other activities are much better for the long-term financial sustainability of an organization (while costing the organization less to acquire). That’s because, converted donors are retained at 2.6x the rate of newly acquired donors and have 9x the lifetime value (Dataro Fundraising Benchmark Report – 2023).


Recurring Giving Infographic: Dataro Benchmark Report 2023

Recurring givers converted from other fundraising activities have a much higher lifetime value (LTV) because they are retained for more than twice as long and continue giving single gifts on top of their monthly contribution.

Charities who focus on converting existing cash donors to monthly givers stand to grow income, increase fundraising ROI and maximize the LTV of their donor base.

Dataro has helped large organizations like Greenpeace and UNICEF to grow their recurring programs through better conversion campaign targeting and retention activities. Using Dataro’s AI-driven donor propensities, UNICEF Australia has grown their recurring program to $12.4 million in 2021.

The team at Greenpeace have been working with Dataro since 2019 to improve their fundraising outcomes across appeals and to build their recurring giving program. Read the case study to see how Greenpeace uses AI donor predictions to help them reduce donor churn in their recurring giving program.

Smaller charities like the Wilderness Society are also using Dataro’s machine learning software to target the best monthly donor prospects. As a result the charity increased response rates in their conversion calling campaign and converted 48 new recurring givers by calling those donors identified by Dataro as the most likely to become monthly givers.

While acquisition is necessary to grow your giving program and introduce new donors to your cause, it  shouldn’t be your only growth strategy for recurring giving. And using AI software to help predict which of your existing donors are at risk of cancelling their gift is key to maximising the ROI of recurring giving programs and improving donor LTV.

👉 DOWNLOAD DATARO’S BENCHMARK REPORT to get more insights and benchmarks for improving your fundraising in 2023.

Over 68 million donations from 7.2 million donors and 2.5 million monthly givers were analyzed.