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2013 Online Fundraising Benchmarks

2013 Shows Year-Over-Year Online Fundraising Growth for Salsa Clients, but the Data Has A Lot More to Say.

It's no secret that nonprofits do a lot of fundraising at the end of the calendar year. What you may not realize is just how crucial EOY fundraising is to most nonprofits. We've shown you charts before, but every year, we like to go over our data and see what we can find that might be useful to you.

Fundraising by quarter is consistent. #truth

What's certain is that the % fundraising breakdowns by quarter has remained incredibly consistent for the last four years (to within 0.5 % for each of the following breakdowns). Nonprofit fundraising with Salsa generally breaks down like this:

Q1: 16%, Q2: 20%, Q3: 19%, Q4: 45%

Yup, you read that right. Almost *half* of all nonprofit fundraising happens in the 4th quarter of the year, and 2013 was no different. December itself generally sees more than a quarter of yearly fundraising, about 28% of it, accounting for almost 2/3 of the quarter.

This year, Salsa continued to grow its community of clients, and those clients continued to grow their lists and improve their fundraising.

We told you before that Salsa clients raised $49.2M in 2013, up 17.5% from 2012's total of $41.9M. But what about EOY fundraising in 2013? How did it stack up? The numbers are certainly interesting.

In December, overall, Salsa nonprofits raised $14.6M for the month, up 20.9% on last year's $12.1M. November, however, saw less growth - $3.9M, up only 7.6% over last year's $3.6M. This is in comparison to December growth of 26.5% and November growth of 20.2%, from 2011 to 2012. So what happened?

Why was November down, and December up?

Best guess: Giving Tuesday. Last year, Giving Tuesday, the philanthropically-themed Tuesday after Thanksgiving, was at the end of November. This year it was at the beginning of December. So, we'd expect to see the months shift a little bit. Deep in that data, though, is a more worrying trend - nonprofits overall saw less growth in their fundraising from 2012 to 2013 as compared to the year before.

When compared to a 2011 baseline, clients raised 23.7% more in 2012 and only 21.6% more in 2013. But a large part of that includes growth in Salsa's nonprofit client base. If you look only at clients fundraising regularly from the beginning of 2011 to the end of 2013, the %'s get slightly worse - 10.6% growth in 2013 against a 2011 baseline, as compared to 15% for 2012. All the while, the average giving amount stayed almost constant at $68 with simply fewer people giving. So what happened?

First of all, it's important to note that 2013 wasn't a "bad" fundraising year. It just wasn't as good as 2012.

We aren’t going to stop our investigation of the data here. We want to answer your next logical questions “why” and “so now what.” We'll be back later this month with more data, more number crunching, and more stats like "how did Giving Tuesday stack up?" and "who's doing it right when it comes to fundraising?" Stay tuned!

Want to learn how to grow your online fundraising to these levels and beyond? Check out these resources now:

Topics: Fundraising