January 18, 2013

2012 is OVER! (So let's talk about it)

Happy New Year Everyone!

2012 was an exciting year at DonorCast. We strengthened our team by adding two new positions and expanded our market to include clients in Continental Europe and the United Kingdom. But not everything we did this year was new, we also freshened up our Fundraising Analytics industry-wide survey. Let's go over the results.

Ninety-one individuals responded to the survey, 31 more than the 60 that responded in 2010. This larger sample size gives us a clearer picture of how analytics is being used to improve nonprofit fundraising. Higher Education continues to be the largest category of institutions participating, with research universities the largest sub-category. This probably shows that higher education organizations have the most developed and sophisticated fundraising operations. However, even though research oriented institutions made up 50% of the respondents, both staff sizes and the amount of money that respondents raise annually varied greatly, with the average staff size being about 25 fundraisers raising approximately $45 million a year.

The analytical techniques that are applied to the multiple aspects of fundraising have remained stable with most respondents using descriptive analysis, predictive modeling, and point-based scoring to identify prospects, analyse performance, and segment donors to create more donor-centric appeals. Interestingly, more organizations have stated that they use analytics to assist in the production of reports, which might mean that analytics is becoming more ingrained in the culture of their organizations. This is a good sign and should lead to higher productivity across all aspects of their fundraising operations. Of the software tools used to complete analysis, both the open-source program R and the statistical package Minitab are more widely used now than they were two years ago. SPSS is still the most widely used software program but it's share has fallen by about 20%.

Staffing, and staff compensation, have remained stable since 2010. Ninety-one percent of the respondents have dedicated prospect research and analytics staff with analysts reporting an average annual salary of $45,000 to $50,000 and Directors earning roughly $80,000 per year. Two directors reported earning over $100,000 in annual salary.

While there weren't any "eye poppers" in this year's survey, that might be a good thing. Since the fundraising analytics industry has grown substantially in the past five to ten years, two years of relative calm might show that our institutions have embraced analytics for the long haul and we are fully integrated into our institutions' operations. The increased use of anayltics in reporting and the integration of R and Minitab into our shops shows that people in our industry are continually experimenting with analytics – both its uses and the products used to create powerful analysis. I think this bodes well for future innovation in our space.    

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