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15 Fundraising Statistics Every Nonprofit Should Know

10 min read
April 16, 2024
Shannon Whitehead headshot
Shannon Whitehead
Content Strategist, Neon One

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Numbers aren’t everything.” It’s mostly true—numbers don’t always tell the whole story. But for fundraisers, numbers can reveal a lot of insights that help you understand donors, demographics, and more. Fundraising metrics are the key to unlocking your most effective, generosity-encouraging strategies. 

Why Do Fundraising Statistics Matter?

It’s crucial for fundraisers to stay up-to-date on nonprofit fundraising statistics. These statistics can help you understand the fundraising landscape, such as how most donors respond to certain types of communications or which practices yield the best results. 

Fundraising statistics can also inform your own fundraising metrics—the measurable numbers you attach to important objectives to determine your effectiveness—and your fundraising strategies.

In this article, we’ll dive into fifteen fundraising statistics that every nonprofit should keep in mind. Some of those statistics are drawn from our own research projects here at Neon One, the latest of which is The Recurring Giving Report: Data-Backed Insights for Sustainable Generosity

This report analyzes data from over 100,000 donors to over 2,000 nonprofits over a span of five full years. If you want insights into the power and potential of recurring giving—with special breakdowns for small, medium, and large nonprofits—download the report today!

1. The Average Nonprofit’s Recurring Donor Base Grew 127% Over a Five-Year Period

Our research for The Recurring Giving Report: Data-Backed Insights for Sustainable Generosity uncovered that the average nonprofit saw a substantial, steady increase in recurring donors from 2018 to 2022—even though the number of donors overall had declined! In 2018, the average nonprofit had 11 active recurring donors. In 2022, that number had grown to 25.

This tells us that recurring donors are a bright spot in the industry—one that deserves special focus. While most nonprofits had fewer active supporters at the end of 2022 (versus 2018), this loyal group of donors continued to give consistently. 

When you’re creating a fundraising strategy, remember to include a plan for engaging recurring donors.

The Average Nonprofit’s Recurring Donor Base Grew 127% Over a Five-Year Period
The Average Nonprofit’s Recurring Donor Base Grew 127% Over a Five-Year Period

2. The Average Bounce Rate for Nonprofit Emails is 1.72%

Email performance metrics are helpful tools in a fundraiser’s arsenal. One to pay attention to is bounce rate, the percentage of email addresses that couldn’t receive your message. For the average nonprofit, that bounce rate is 1.72%.

Your organization’s average bounce rate can uncover how “clean” your email list is. A clean email list is one without unengaged and undeliverable contacts. Not having a clean email list can make fundraising difficult because a consistently high bounce rate can result in a low sender score or other penalties from email service providers. 

Eventually, a high bounce rate can prohibit you from sending email campaigns at all. Keep your lists clean!

3. 34 Million U.S. Adults Participated in GivingTuesday 2023

GivingTuesday is a generosity movement that has become an incredibly popular giving day worldwide. In 2023, GivingTuesday participation reflected the decreased generosity numbers seen widely in the nonprofit industry.

While 34 million adults in the U.S. participated in GivingTuesday 2023, this is a 10% decrease from 2022 (37 million adults). Despite that drop, the dollar amount of donations modestly increased by 0.6%, totaling $3.1 billion. All nonprofit teams should have a strategic plan for a GivingTuesday fundraising campaign each year. For more fundraising statistics to help with your GivingTuesday strategy, check out 10 GivingTuesday Statistics Every Fundraiser Should Know.

4. The Average Nonprofit Has a 29.58% Email Open Rate

In our 2023 research report, The Nonprofit Email Report: Data-Backed Insights for Better Engagement, we analyzed over 37,000 nonprofit email campaigns sent by Neon One clients. 

Along with many other nonprofit-specific email insights, we found that the average nonprofit has a 29.58% email open rate. This is crucial data for fundraisers who include email marketing in their fundraising approach. This statistic also confirms the importance of effective subject lines for nonprofit fundraising emails. Subject lines play a crucial part in making sure your organization’s message is received (and opened!).

5. Millennials Donated Over 40% More in 2022 Than in 2016

Baby boomers may lead the charge in donating to charitable organizations, but the millennial generation isn’t far behind. In fact, a report from Giving USA found that millennials are the second most generous generation. 

In 2016, Millennials gave an average of  $942 in donations. In 2022, they gave $1,323. As millennials become more involved in nonprofit work, organizations will need to make an effort to connect with this increasingly generous generation.

Millennials Donated Over 40% More in 2022 Than in 2016
Millennials Donated Over 40% More in 2022 Than in 2016

6. Environmental Nonprofits Receive About 2% of Charitable Donations

While environmental organizations are doing critical work to support land conservation, wildlife protection, sustainability efforts, and more, their level of support doesn’t always match the important nature of their work.

If you’re a fundraiser for an environmental nonprofit, it’s essential to recognize that organizations like yours typically only receive about 2% of all donations. When combined, environmental and animal-related nonprofits received about $12.7 billion in donations, representing only 3% of total charitable donations in the United States in 2020. Many donors or would-be supporters may not know that their favorite environmental nonprofits are undersupported, so this could be a helpful statistic to share when appropriate. Provide supporters with this information while reminding them of the many reasons environmental organizations need support.

7. Giving Toward Climate Change Mitigation Increased 25%

ClimateWorks Foundation’s Funding Trends report revealed that donations dedicated to climate change—which represented only 2% of global philanthropic giving in 2019—increased by 25% in 2021. This incredible increase even outpaced the 8% increase in overall charitable donations for 2021.

If you run or support a climate change nonprofit, this is excellent news. Your cause is gaining a remarkable increase in support!

8. Segmentation and Personalization Resulted in a 760% Revenue Increase

You read that right—research from Campaign Monitor revealed that email campaigns that used their CRM data to segment email recipients and personalize messaging saw a 760% increase in revenue compared to those that didn’t utilize segmentation.

Segmentation strategies such as using supporters’ names in email greetings and segmenting donors into groups can have a powerful impact on nonprofit email effectiveness. Tailoring your messaging for specific groups of donors helps your message resonate and ultimately boosts donations.

Is It Time for a New CRM?
Is It Time for a New CRM?

9. More Than 8 Out of 10 People Will Open a Welcome Email

If you’re not using a welcome email series to welcome supporters to your email list, educate them about your organization and cause, and build a solid email rapport that encourages them to open your emails…the time is now!

Data from GetResponse showed that more than eight out of ten people will open a welcome email. In fact, welcome email performance knocked it out of the park with four times as many opens and ten times as many clicks as other types of emails. 

This proves that an automated welcome email series is a great method for engaging supporters and setting the stage for future communications, including fundraising emails.

10. Multi-Channel Campaigns Can Lead to a 204% Higher Conversion Rate

Have you ever planned a fundraising campaign as a direct mail, email, or in-person event campaign? NextAfter conducted a research experiment in which donors received a personalized postcard with their name on the front and a link to watch a customized video online. 

The result? Donors who received the postcard donated more, and the conversion rate increased by 204%!

What does this huge conversion boost reveal to fundraisers? You’re not stuck with one channel for every campaign. For example, some parts of a campaign may be more suited for direct mail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the other channels at your disposal at the same time. 

You can use multiple channels, including email, social media, in-person events or meetings, direct mail, and more to make your campaign the best it can be.

11. 17–31% of Nonprofit Revenue is Raised in December

December is a crucial time for fundraisers. At year’s end, donors are increasingly generous (and/or looking to lower that year’s tax bill), offering December fundraising campaigns a higher chance of success. Nonprofits tend to raise 17–31% online in December—a whopping 25% of their total online revenue.

This fundraising metric translates to special attention on December fundraising. While your other fundraising campaigns throughout the year are also necessary, December’s numbers warrant a focus on dedicated year-end giving campaigns. For further insights on donor behavior, download our free report, Donors: Understanding The Future of Individual Giving.

12. 30% of Gen Z Regularly Donates

If you’ve had trouble engaging Gen Z donors and you’re wondering if this age group is even interested in charitable organizations, we have good news for you.

A 2021 Barna research study on millennials and Gen Z showed that Gen Z does donate—with their time (by volunteering) and consistent, albeit smaller, donations. The study found that 30% of Gen Z include donations in their budgets, and at least 50% of people aged 18 to 25 regularly donate to charitable organizations.

13. 97% of Donors Cite Impact as a Major Motivator

When crafting a fundraising appeal, it’s helpful to know what motivates donors. Why do they give? What causes them to continue giving? According to a study by CCS Fundraising, 97% of donors cite impact as a major motivating factor behind their donation. Comparatively, only 56% of donors reported that income tax deductions were their major motivator.

Consider this fundraising metric when it’s time to shape messaging for an upcoming campaign. Donors want to know the specific impact their gift will make. Share who will be impacted by their gift and how.

14. 75% of Donors Use Video to Understand a Donation’s Impact

If video isn’t part of your fundraising strategy, it’s time to incorporate it! Video is not only an especially moving and effective medium but it’s also proven to be an impactful fundraising tool. 

An incredible 75% of donors reported using video to understand the potential impact of their donation. 57% of people who watch a nonprofit video move forward with their donation. This means that fundraising campaign landing pages, emails, and donation form confirmation pages are the perfect places to add a video. Video can make a huge difference!

For example, you could use a campaign video to support your fundraising appeal on social media and landing pages, then follow it up with a video on the donation confirmation page that shares the impact of a donation.

15. 50% of Recurring Donors Give Additional Gifts

Not only are many nonprofits seeing their recurring donor base grow, but these donors tend to go above and beyond making monthly donations. Fifty percent of recurring donors also give additional gifts! 

These donations may not be major gifts, but they have a major impact—a recurring donor’s consistent support certainly adds up.

50% of Recurring Donors Give Additional Gifts
50% of Recurring Donors Give Additional Gifts

The Fundraising Tools You Need to Raise More

As we discussed, numbers (such as the fundraising statistics mentioned in this article) are great resources and can even inform your fundraising strategy in ways that increase effectiveness. But numbers aren’t everything—fundraisers need tools to help with accurate reporting, building and maintaining donor relationships, and automating time-consuming tasks. Neon CRM was built for nonprofit organizations and is equipped with the tools you need to raise more for your mission. Join one of our regularly scheduled, 30-minute group demos today to learn about everything the system can do for you!

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