Episode 56: Check Your Donor Vital Signs

May 3, 2018 Blackbaud, Inc.

We all know that acquiring and retaining donors is one of the most important things nonprofit organizations must do to improve their fundraising performance. The question is how to do it – and do it well. This requires that we take a broader look at trends across the non-profit sector to help us better understand how our organizations are performing but also understand more about our donors. 

To help us explore this and some brand new research from the Blackbaud Institute is Chuck Longfield, Blackbaud’s Chief Scientist and author of the Vital Signs Report. In today’s episode, he’ll share some of the changes that he’s noticed since the last Vital Signs Report and talk about what those changes mean for the future of the non-profit world. 

Listen now:

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Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • What Chuck found in Part 1 of the Vital Signs Report a little over a year ago
  • How the newer Vital Signs report shows signs of a turnaround in giving
  • The urban legend that giving is a zero-sum game, and how the recent research disproves that theory
  • What happens when donors stop giving to a particular organization
  • Where donors’ loyalties lie – with a specific organization, or with a cause
  • Steps that organizations can take with the new research in mind
  • Why organizations should try to convert donors to monthly giving
  • Whether the current pool of donors is sustainable long-term
  • The directions that Chuck’s research will go in next 

Links and Resources: 

Chuck Longfield

Vital Signs Report Part 2

Vital Signs Report Part 1

Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact


Quotes from this episode:

“I sort of put it into three categories. You could have more people giving more money, you could have fewer people giving more money, or you could have fewer people giving less money.” 

“A big driver of this – not the only driver, but a big driver – is what some people are calling rage-giving.” 

“If you can get over that initial hurdle and retain these new donors, these are pretty good donors to retain.”


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