About Fundraising Grader


Donor Acquisition

Startup nonprofits and established organizations need to consistently add new donors in order to surpass fundraising goals. Shifting demographics and emerging technology requires nonprofit fundraising professionals to evolve. It's time to embrace online fundraising tools along with traditional outreach methods and turn your organization into a revenue generating machine that attracts new donors in an increasingly digital world.

Across the nonprofit charity spectrum, average new donor acquisition rates range from:

Our nonprofit clients generally exceed industry averages in new donor acquisition:

If you are excelling at new donor acquisition, it's likely because your nonprofit does these three things well: 1) A consistent, compelling message. 2) Digital infrastructure that leverages online giving. 3) Passionate supporters who are brand ambassadors. Keep up the good work!

If you're unhappy with your organization's ability to add new donors, Download this free donor acquisition whitepaper >>and get started on a brighter future.

For the Fundraising Grader, our goal is to give you an idea of where you stand v. your industry peers. We do this by calculating your new donor acquisition rates on an annual basis. Other key performance indicators for donor acquisition that you'll want to keep in mind include: New online donors, new monthly recurring donors, new major donors and new donors per month.

Donor Cultivation

It's always a great day when your team brings a new donor into the fold. But, how can you nurture that donor so that they transform from a one-time donor into a passionate lifetime benefactor? Some call it stewardship. Others call it nurturing. We call it donor cultivation.

For the Fundraising Grader, we felt that the easiest way to determine how well you are cultivating your donors is by looking at growth in average gift size and growth in overall donations. Our goal is to give you an idea of where you stand v. your industry peers. Over the last three years, the average annual increase in charitable donations has hovered around 4% for nonprofits in general.

If you're struggling to increase your overall donations or average gift size, Download this donor cultivation whitepaper >>

Other donor cultivation metrics to watch include: average online gift size, average size of bequest, average gift size per by demographics/age groups, number of individual donations in one year, number of major gifts in one year, number of online gifts, event attendance/participation.

Donor Retention

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project reported that if nonprofits could increase their donor retention rates from 45% to 55%, it could double their donation revenue. Longterm sustainability lies not in new donors acquired, but in keeping donors active. If retention is so important, how is it that the nonprofit industry average is 41% donor retention rate?

Retaining donors is really about smart, personalized communication. The more targeted and timely your communication is with prospects and donors, the longer they continue supporting your organization and the more they become advocates for your cause. With growing advocacy comes an increase in volunteer activity. Ultimately, you'll see a boost in cause awareness as more people learn and become passionate about your nonprofit...bringing you full circle as you acquire excited new donors!

If you're struggling to increase your donor retention rates, download the "Essential Guide to Fundraising Sustainability."

Other donor retention metrics to watch repeat donor retention rates, two and three year donor retention rates, number of monthly recurring donors, number of consecutive giving years, number of donors who volunteer and number of peer to peer fundraisers.

Fundraising Pulse

Join hundreds of development professionals, nonprofit marketers, and technology experts and subscribe to Fundraising Pulse to get the best fundraising content delivered right to your inbox.

DonorPro's blog covers the most important topics you need to know to become a fundraising expert in the digital world. Topics include cause awareness, fundraising events, donor management, websites & SEO, fundraising software, donor cultivation, donor retention and much more!

Discover articles like these when you subscribe: 9 Key Performance Indicators Nonprofit Management Needs to Track, 6 Things You Must Do to Attract and Acquire Younger Donors, The Power of Time-Sensitive Appeals Using Online Fundraising Tools.


In your world, fundraising and development are like sales and marketing. As the corporate, for-profit world leads the charge in digital marketing advances, it's important that nonprofits follow their lead while tailoring terminology and implementation to their donors and prospects.

We can't discuss donor acquisition, donor cultivation, and donor retention without highlighting the crucial role that content marketing plays.

At the nonprofit content marketing learning center, we're making sure you and your team are staying up to date on the latest in social media, responsive website design, conversion optimization, mobile marketing, blogging, and other modern marketing strategies.

Visit the Nonprofit Content Marketing Learning Center >>