The Essence of Fundraising

“In the first place, I advise you to apply to all those who you know will give something; next to those of whom you are uncertain whether they will give anything or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing; for in some of them you may be mistaken.”
– Benjamin Franklin

From Donor Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burk.


  1. there are over 865,000 not-for-profits in the U.S.
  2. over solicitation is donors’ number one complaint (among the top 3 reasons for discontinuing support; 38% of individual donors will not give to a nonprofit that sends duplicate or multiple solicitations)
  3. Bequests account for 8% of total giving nationwide
  4. 50% = industry standard renewal rate (90% disappear within 5 years; the largest numbers of donors, are lost between the first and second donation [50%], followed by between the second and third donation [30%])
  5. 88% of not for profits store donor records in a specialized fundraising database (68% of records go back at least 5 years)
  6. individual donors have been contributing to charitable causes for an average of 32 years
  7. 90% of individual donors single out one particular nonprofit for special/unusual support
  8. Corporate donors support the following types of organizations
    education: 77%
    welfare/social services: 54%
    environment: 39%
    arts: 30%
    health care: 23%
    sport/recreation: 15%
    United Way: 8%
  9. 89% of American households contribute to charitable causes
  10. 86% of individual donors will not support a not for profit that sells or trades their name
  11. individual donors on average support over 25 not for profits annually
  12. 81% of individual donors, and 71% of corporate donors, say having their names published in a nonprofit’s annual report, newsletter, or program has no influence on whether they will give again